Across the UK, people are owed money by their previous or current energy suppliers. However, many people are either not aware that they are in credit or they don’t know how to go about claiming an energy refund from their suppliers. Fortunately, Ofgem has rules that should make it relatively easy to claim for the money that you’re owed. Our comprehensive guide tells you everything you need to know about getting an energy refund from your supplier.
If your current energy supplier owes you money, it’s referred to as a “live” account balance. There are several different ways that you can find out if your energy supplier owes you an energy refund:
Online – If you pay your energy bills online, simply log in and check your account balance.
Paper bills – If you receive paper bills, your latest bill should tell you if you are in credit.
Contact customer service – If you can’t find a recent bill, simply get in touch with your energy supplier and it should be able to tell you whether you have overpaid or not.
It’s also worth remembering that three of the big six energy suppliers – npower, ScottishPower and British Gas – will refund credit automatically, so you probably won’t need to request an electric refund.
If your old energy supplier owes you money, it’s referred to as a “closed” account balance. Aside from looking back at your bills from your previous energy supplier, there is a scheme called My Energy Credit that helps people who have moved or switched suppliers reclaim money that they may be owed, regardless of how much time has passed.
My Energy Credit’s website provides information about the claims process for all the major suppliers, so it’s a great jumping-off point for anyone who needs to find out whether their previous supplier owes them money.
Although it seems surprising, overpaying for your energy is not a particularly uncommon event. This is because energy suppliers do not charge customers for the energy that they have actually used. Instead, your monthly energy bills are estimates based on your previous consumption. As a result, the amount you pay and the amount you owe may not be the same, particularly if the amount of energy that you consume changes throughout the year, perhaps due to someone leaving home.
The amount of money that your energy supplier may owe you is based on the amount of money that you have overpaid. According to recent research, the average British person who pays by direct debit is £108 in credit with their energy provider.
Of course, it’s possible that you’re owed significantly more or less than this amount. For example, if you regularly switch providers and you’ve overpaid with many of your old suppliers, you may be owed hundreds of pounds. To find out for sure, you’ll need to look at a recent bill or get in touch with your energy supplier.
Although getting an energy refund is sure to be tempting, there are a couple of things that you should remember before getting the process started. Even if you do have energy credit, you should talk to your supplier about your balance, because your direct debit is likely to have been set up to cover your energy consumption across the whole year. So, even if you’re overspending in the summer, by the winter your expenditure may even out, and there might be no need for an electric refund.
Fortunately, the process of getting an energy refund is relatively simple: all you need to do is ask. Get in touch with your current energy supplier by phone and it should handle the rest of the process.
Your previous supplier should have repaid your energy credit after you switched providers. However, many providers fail to do this, which means that you’ll need to pursue the energy refund yourself. To get started, just call up your previous supplier, and it will explain the process to you over the phone.
If you want to claim for a deceased family member’s energy credit, you should get in touch with their supplier and it’ll explain the process. In most cases, you’ll need to write in and provide their account details and the date they passed away.
The length of time that a refund takes will depend on your supplier. In some cases, you should be able to get it within eight weeks, although it may take months. Ultimately, this is down to the energy supplier, so the sooner you make a request for a refund, the sooner the money will be in your account.
If your energy company is not refunding credit readily, or within eight weeks of the request, you can lodge a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman. If the ombudsman agrees to take on your case, they will provide you with a response within six to eight weeks. If the ruling is in your favour, a letter will be sent to your energy supplier saying what needs to be done, and if an electric refund is required, it will have 28 days to repay you.
If your energy supplier is at fault for the outage, you can claim for a power outage refund. However, if the power outage was due to an error by you, for example, you didn’t pay your bill or a fuse was tripped, then you won’t be entitled to a refund.
If the outage was planned, then your provider is required to give you two days’ notification. If it didn’t provide you with this notification, you are entitled to claim £30, although you must do this within 30 days of the outage.
If fewer than 5,000 homes experienced a gas or electricity outage for over 12 hours, each home will get £75, plus £35 for each subsequent 12-hour period.
If more than 5,000 homes were affected, each home will get £75, plus £35 for each subsequent 12-hour period, but the amount you can claim for is capped at £300.
If the outage was caused by poor weather conditions, each home will get £70 if they went without power for 24 hours, and a further £70 for each subsequent 12-hour period, capped at £700.
In order to get the outage refund, you will need to contact your energy supplier.
If you want to reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with energy refunds, making your bills as accurate as possible can be a great help. One of the best things to do is provide regular meter readings to your supplier. By doing this once every three months, your supplier can make a much more accurate prediction of your energy consumption and you’ll be less likely to overpay.