Does your energy firm owe you £100?
Almost two thirds of people pay for their gas and electricity through a fixed monthly direct debit, which often results in energy being paid for, but not used. The average Brit paying by direct debit is £108 in credit with their energy provider, according to MoneySuperMarket’s research.
Consumers can find out if they’re in credit by contacting their provider with up-to-date electricity and gas meter readings.
Under Ofgem rules people are entitled to claim any credit as long as up-to-date meter readings have been provided. Most suppliers automatically refund credit balances once a year, but refund policies can vary between companies.
Despite the ease of claiming credit back, research shows that more than half of consumers who pay by direct debit (54%) have never received an automatic refund when their account sits in credit.
Co-op Energy customers who pay by direct debit are the most in credit on average, to the tune of £196, followed by those with Ovo (£139), Scottish Power (£126), EDF (£119), British Gas (£113) and Npower (£98).
Across the UK, those based in Northern Ireland are in credit by the highest amount and could reclaim an average of £209 from their energy provider. This is over double those in Scotland (£92) and the South West of England (£93).
Although most energy providers can offer readings online, 7% of customers have never given their provider a meter reading. MoneySuperMarket’s research found that only 15% of 18–24 year olds were likely to provide a meter reading, making them the least likely age group to give one – risking inaccuracies in bills and potentially leaving themselves out of pocket.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “With the price cap set to push average energy bills up by £117 next week, now is the time to check your account and see if you’re in credit with your supplier. The easiest way to find out if you’re owed money is by taking a meter reading and giving it to your provider, so they know exactly how much energy you’re using, rather than just charging you based on estimated usage. For many people bills are big enough without paying for energy you don’t use.”
How to reclaim
The table below outlines the average amount of credit that energy suppliers owe to those who pay by direct debit:
|Supplier||Average credit amount||How to reclaim credit|
|Co-operative Energy||£196||Customers can request a refund.|
|Ovo Energy||£139||The minimum refund amount is £25, and the account must have enough credit to cover one Direct Debit payment, plus an extra £25 to request a refund. A recent meter reading will need to be provided.|
|Scottish Power||£126||If a customer’s annual review is based on actual meter readings and the balance is greater than one month’s payment or over £75, the balance will be automatically refunded. If your credit amount is less than one month’s payment value or under £75, Scottish Power will carry it forward into next year’s payment plan.|
|EDF||£119||A meter reading will need to be provided.|
|British Gas||£113||If a customer is over £75 in credit after a year, British Gas will automatically refund the credit into your bank account, as long as they’ve got an up-to-date meter reading. If it is less than £75, British Gas suggests you keep it there so you have a head start on your bills for the following year. However, if the customer would like a refund they will have to get in touch to request it.|
|NPower||£98||After an annual review, a credit of £5 of more will be automatically refunded, as long as the statement was based on an actual meter reading.|
|E.ON||£98||A meter reading will need to be provided and future direct debit payments may need to change, as they try to get your balance as close to zero as they can by your annual review.|
|Bulb||£93||If your account is in credit by more than your monthly payment you can request a refund.|
|First Utility||£92||Customers can request a refund.|
|SSE||£80||Customers can request a refund, but an up to date meter reading will be needed so they can make sure they’re refunded the correct amount.|
|Octopus Energy||£80||A meter reading will need to be provided.|