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I haven’t received an energy bill

If you haven’t received an energy bill in a while, you’re probably wondering how to rectify the situation. Here’s how to make sure you’re being billed on time and what you need to know about back-billing.

If you haven’t received an energy bill in a while, you’re probably wondering how to rectify the situation. Here’s how to make sure you’re being billed on time and what you need to know about back-billing.

Sofia Hutson
Utilities expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 APRIL 2022

What should I do if I haven’t received an energy bill in a while?

It can be worrying if your energy supplier suddenly stops sending you bills or if you’ve never received an energy bill after moving house. If this happens, it’s important that you report it to your energy supplier directly, as soon as possible.

Choosing to take advantage of this kind of oversight rarely works in the customer’s favour, as energy suppliers can legally back-bill you for up to 12 months and bills can be for any amount. 

If you’ve moved home, it’s important to let the energy supplier know you’ve taken over the supply in your new property. Take meter readings and contact them as soon as possible, so they can set up an account in your name.

Why might I not receive my energy bills? 

Mistakes, errors or inaccurate readings could mean you don’t receive an energy bill for a while. Unfortunately, this means you could get a nasty surprise when things are corrected and you’re sent an accumulated bill for the energy you’ve used but haven’t paid for. This is called ‘back-billing’.

Back-billing is essentially a ‘catch-up’ bill, when a supplier charges you for gas and electricity you’ve used that – for whatever reason – hasn’t been paid for.

There are three main reasons why you might not have received your energy bills on a regular basis: 

  • Estimated meter readings – if you haven’t been sending your energy provider regular meter readings, your bills will be based on estimates, which could mean you’re underpaying. If you’re using more energy than you’ve paid for, you’ll eventually get a bill for the amount you owe.
  • Cancelled direct debit – if your direct debit has been accidentally cancelled, you may not have been sent a bill for a while. Once the error is spotted, you’ll receive a bill for missed payments you owe.
  • Wrong meter number – it could happen that you’ve been charged under the wrong meter number. Once the mistake is spotted, you could receive a hefty bill for the correct amount of energy you’ve used.

What are my rights when it comes to back-billing?

Ofgem, the government regulator for the UK energy market, has put rules in place to protect you when it comes to back-billing. 

If, despite contacting your supplier repeatedly, they haven’t sent you a bill, they won’t be able to back-bill you for more than 12 months. You can state your rights, via email or letter, if they do. The only exception to this is if you’ve stopped the supplier from taking meter readings.

If you’re concerned that you’re not being treated fairly, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 113 for guidance.

What if I can’t afford to settle my back-bill?

If you simply can’t afford to pay the full amount owed on the back-bill, it’s important that you let your supplier know.

Most energy providers will offer you a payment plan that allows you to pay back your debt in smaller amounts. For example, if you receive a back-bill for a period of six months, you should be given six months to pay the outstanding amount back in full.

I don’t know who my energy supplier is. How do I find out?

If you haven’t been receiving your energy bills and you don’t know who to contact, fear not. Read our guide to finding out who your supplier is.

You can use the Meter Point Administration’s online search tool, to find out who supplies your gas.

And you can find your electricity supplier using the Energy Networks Association postcode search tool. 

Frequently asked questions

How can I avoid back-billing?

The best way to avoid a hefty back bill is to regularly submit meter readings to your energy supplier. If you don’t have a smart meter, you’ll need to take a monthly reading and send it to your supplier yourself. 

It’s also a good idea to check your energy bills to make sure all the details are correct. If you pay by direct debit, double-check that your bank account information and direct debit details are correct, and the right amount is being paid each month or quarter.

Finally, if you’re moving house, make sure you take meter readings and let your old energy supplier know, so your account can be updated and closed. Then contact your new supplier as soon as possible. This will ensure you’re not being charged for energy used by the previous occupant in your new home.

Can a smart meter prevent back-billing?

It could certainly help. A smart meter automatically takes regular readings and sends them directly to the energy supplier, without you having to do anything. This means you’ll receive accurate bills, and you’ll only pay for the energy you use.

Another benefit is that you can see the cost and amount of energy you’re using in real time on the In-Home Display (IHD) that comes with your smart meter. 

If you haven’t already been offered a smart meter by your energy supplier, you can contact them and request one. Installation is free of charge.

How do I complain about my energy supplier?

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by your energy supplier for back-billing or any other issues, you should contact them and explain why. Energy suppliers have a complaints process to follow and they should contact you within eight weeks. 

If you don’t hear back from them within this time, or you’re not happy with their response, you can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

Citizens Advice offers help and support in presenting your complaint. You can call their helpline on 0800 223 113 or chat with an adviser online.