Economy / 7th December 2020

How to complain to your energy company

Find out how to complain to your energy company

If you’re not happy with your gas or electricity supplier, perhaps because they’ve made a mistake with your bill or have set your direct debit too high, you can complain. Find out how to complain to your energy company.

How to complain to your energy company

Billing problems

Each year thousands of people complain about ‘catch up bills’ – where you’re given a large bill because you’ve underpaid for your energy previously. Other people complain because they’ve been asked to pay too much. There are several different types of billing problem:

Back billing This is where you’ve either not had a bill at all or you’ve been seriously undercharged for your energy use. There is a code of practice that covers how long companies are allowed to go back and charge you. The code says:

There is a limit on the energy you’re liable for. Customers will not be charged for more than one year’s energy use from the date of the bill if they have not received a bill previously and the error is not their fault.

SAVVY TIP: You would be expected to have made an effort to get a bill. So if, for example, you’d moved into a new home, you would be expected to contact the energy company a few times to get your bill.

When you may owe money

If you’ve tried to submit meter readings but the energy supplier has rejected them or if your meter numbers haven’t been updated following a meter upgrade, you may not be billed accurately. In this type of situation you shouldn’t be liable for the energy you’ve used for more than 12 months from the latest billing date (because it would be covered by the back billing code).

If your direct debit payments are increased

If your gas or electricity company wants to raise your direct debit. If your energy supplier tells you it’s planning to increase your direct debit payments, it must be able to demonstrate that the higher payments are necessary. If not, you can complain.

SAVVY TIP: Your energy provider shouldn’t insist that you pay a higher level of direct debit unless your payments aren’t keeping up with your energy use.

If you’re unhappy with your energy supplier you can complain. The first step is to contact your energy supplier and to submit a formal complaint. If you don’t get anywhere, you can contact Citizens Advice and submit a complaint but your first port of all for your complaints should be the energy company itself. If you’re not happy with the response, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman after you’ve given the energy company eight weeks to deal with your complaint.

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