Energy billing blunders leave households £270m out of pocket
Nearly four million energy customers have been overcharged by a total of £270 million - £72 each – due to billing mistakes, claims comparison website uSwitch.
It says over a third (36%) of respondents it surveyed who said their supplier had made a billing error, said the wrong tariff or product details had been applied.
Other blunders reported include providers applying incorrect fees (31%), using the wrong meter reading (27%) and setting inaccurate Direct Debit amounts (24%).
Npower alone was forced to cough up £26 million to customers in December 2015 following widespread billing and complaints handling problems.
But uSwitch says not only are billing blunders hitting consumers’ pockets, but also their time. Nearly a fifth (19%) of those surveyed who’d suffered billing problems said they waited between one and two months before the issue was resolved, with more than one in ten (12%) waiting over two months.
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To prevent issues, check bills carefully and speak to your provider immediately if you think you’ve over or under paid. You should also provide up to date meter readings every few months to avoid estimated bills, and check that the figure you’ve provided has been used.
Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch, says: “Accurate bills are essential if consumers stand any hope of taking control of their energy use and spend.
“Recent upgrades by some suppliers to billing systems have resulted in teething problems, but today’s figures show there’s still more for the industry to do.”