Energy companies – particularly the ‘Big Six’ of British Gas, Npower, SSE, E.ON, EDF and Scottish Power – have overcharged 3.5 million Brits a total of £153 million in the last six years.
When customers decide to switch energy supplier and are in credit when they make the switch, the energy giants can be less-than-forthcoming when it comes to recompensing their former customers, and over the years, these delays have seen gas and electricity suppliers hold on to a huge amount of cash they should not rightfully possess.
But this should all change as of today, as Energy UK’s MyEnergyCredit campaign has launched in order to reunite British energy customers with their money. This initiative, coming on the heels of an Ofgem campaign, will encourage people to contact their former energy suppliers if they think they are owed any money, and to use any cash that cannot be traced back to its original owner to support vulnerable households. Energy companies are also going to introduce a set of voluntary minimum standards to ensure that unclaimed credit balances to not build up in the same way again.
Energy UK noted that around 10% of customers do not receive credit when they switch energy suppliers, with these each being owed an average of £50. Although these might seem like relatively small figures, they have accumulated into a fortune over the last six years.
Ofgem Chief Executive Dermot Nolan described the move as an “encouraging first step”, but said it forms part of a “wider challenge”.
Energy suppliers need to rebuild customer confidence and trust by improving their services, he argued, revealing that although the regulator welcomes recent progress in this area, gas and electricity companies need to do “everything within their powers” to ensure that the same situation does not recur.
Accordingly, the Big Six are changing their practices to prevent the same amount of overpaid credit from building up in the future, and have committed to using any unclaimed funds to transparently provide support to vulnerable customers. While today’s announcement solely relates to households, the sector is making similar efforts to recompense overcharged business energy customers, and Ofgem intends to monitor the progress made in both markets.
Angela Knight, Energy UK Chief Executive, said the new campaign will be promoted over the autumn, and urged customers to make a claim if they think they are entitled to it.
Minister of Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, MP, said parliament is “committed” to helping hard-pressed Brits deal with the cost of gas and electricity.
You may be able to make a claim if the following apply to you:
- You moved house but did not provide your energy supplier with a forwarding address or a final meter reading
- You switched energy supplier but did not provide a final mater reading
- You paid your energy in advance or through direct debits
Any historic claim will be refunded, regardless of how old it is, so long as it is valid.
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