Contact your supplier as soon as possible

If you haven't received a bill from your supplier and you're not sure what to do, don't just ignore it, make sure you contact them. You’re legally obliged to pay for the gas and electricity you use. 

If you do choose just to ignore not getting a bill and continue to use the gas and electricity, you're likely to end up with a big bill, so it's vital you get the matter resolved as soon as possible.

If you have not contacted your supplier about your lack of bills, then in accordance with the Limitation Act 1980 they can back-bill you for up to six years. 

In light of this, it's vital that you notify your energy supplier as soon as possible, if you stop receiving any energy bills.

I've already tried to contact my supplier

If you've already contacted your supplier about your lack of bills and they still haven’t sent you one, Ofgem's back-billing principle offers some protection.

Since 2007, domestic energy suppliers have committed to Ofgem's back-billing principle of not back-billing customers for energy used more than 12 months ago, if the supplier was at fault - for example, they have not sent a bill or are billing you incorrectly.

At the moment, this principle is voluntary and only applies to licensed suppliers. This means the back-billing principle would not apply to energy suppliers and customers of district heating networks, as these networks are not licensed or regulated by Ofgem.

From the start of May, energy suppliers will no longer be able to back-bill domestic customers past 12 months and in November for microbusinesses.

The ban will not apply to customers who actively prevent suppliers from taking readings.

What is back-billing?

Back-billing is when a supplier charges you for gas and electricity already used which has not previously been billed for. 

Under the Limitation Act 1980 they can do this for up to six years, if it's found that they have not been at fault for not sending you your bills. 

For example, if you have recently moved into a new property and not informed them that you have taken over the electricity supply they can back-bill you for up to six years. 

If however, your energy supplier is at fault, then according to Ofgem's principle they should only back-bill you up to a year. 

For example, if you move into a new property and inform them that you have taken over responsibility for the electricity but you don't receive any bills, despite contacting them several times, they should only back-bill you up to a maximum of 12 months.

I’m struggling to pay a back-bill

Your supplier should offer you a payment plan that allows you to repay any debt over the same length of time as it has built up. 

For example, a back-bill of a year should be paid back over a year rather than a shorter time period.

If you feel your supplier is being unreasonable or you are struggling to pay back a back-bill, you could suggest an alternative payment plan to your supplier. 

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