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How to avoid being overcharged for energy

Keeping your home running with gas and electricity doesn’t come cheap. So it’s important to make sure that you’re not paying more for your energy than you should. Here are our top tips for ensuring more accurate energy bills.   

Peter Earl From the Energy team
4
minute read
posted

How can I avoid being overcharged for energy?

Submit regular meter readings 

The ideal way to avoid paying over the odds is to provide your supplier with regular meter readings. It’s easy to do and you can submit them online, by phone or using your supplier’s app – if they have one. It’s recommended that you take your meter readings every month, or every three months if you’re on quarterly billing.

Remember that if you don’t submit regular readings, your supplier has to estimate your energy usage, based on previous bills. This can lead to you paying for more energy than you’ve actually used.

Some tariffs stipulate that you must submit meter readings regularly (generally, once a quarter). If you’ve got this type of tariff, it’s worth setting a reminder to give readings so you don’t end up being switched over to another tariff.

Query your bill

It’s important to query your bill with your supplier, if you suspect you’ve been overcharged. If an inflated bill is their mistake, you should be able to claim a refund.

Your supplier must respond within a maximum of eight weeks. If they don’t, you can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

Shop around

Another way to make sure you’re paying a fair price for your energy is to switch energy suppliers regularly. Use Compare the Market to compare the tariffs on offer and see if you could save.

It’s worth considering smaller energy suppliers, who may be able to offer more competitive rates than the ‘Big Six’.

If I’ve been overcharged, can I get a refund?

Yes. If your meter has caused inaccurate energy bills, you should be able to get a refund from your energy supplier. If high bills are down to a billing error, you should also be able to get a refund.

But if you haven’t been submitting meter readings and the overcharge is a result of estimated billing, you won’t be eligible to get any money back.

So the ideal way to avoid the issue in future is to get into the habit of providing regular meter readings, or consider a smart meter, which will take care of that for you.

Could my energy meter be faulty?

If you suspect your meter is to blame for your high energy bills, there are a few things you can do:

  • Try turning off all appliances for a few hours and watching the meter closely. If the numbers keep rising, there’s a good chance there’s a fault.
  • Report it to your energy supplier. They’ll send an expert to test the meter professionally.

How much does it cost to get my meter tested?

Most energy providers will test your meter for free if it’s potentially faulty, but they may charge you for removing and replacing it. You might be able to get around this by upgrading to a smart meter, but before you do read our smart meter guide.

Is it time to switch?

Wondering if you could save money by switching energy suppliers? Give us a few details about yourself and we’ll show you a list of quotes, from a range of UK energy suppliers. So compare now and see if you could save.

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