What to do if your energy supplier owes you money

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There are a number of cases where your supplier might end up owing you money. Below we explain why this happens and what to do if you want to reclaim energy credit. Note if your account is in credit your supplier must refund this money if asked.

Why would my supplier owe me money?

If you pay via direct debit then your monthly payments are based on your estimated annual usage. This means that you’ll have additional credit in you account in Summer that will be used up in higher usage winter months.

In some cases suppliers will estimate your payments incorrectly, for example if your usage drops. In these cases you may still have extra credit in your account above what you need to cover winter payments.

Additionally, if you switch supplier it’s possible that you were in credit before switching, in which case they need to refund you this money.

Will I get refunded energy credit automatically?

For live accounts: in most cases if credit is building up in your account then your supplier should aim to reduce this without you taking any action.

If too much credit is building up in your account, your supplier should reduce your monthly payments so that the amount of credit reduces over time. Some suppliers will also repay any money they owe you at the end of the year.

For closed accounts: the supplier must send you a closing statement telling you if there’s credit on your account. If you’ve moved away from a supplier while in credit, they are obligated to refund the energy credit to you when they process your final bill.

It’s always worth checking once your switch has been processed that you have received your final bill and any money owed has been refunded correctly.

When should I take action to reclaim energy credit?

We’d recommend keeping roughly one times your average monthly bill in credit with your supplier, so that you are always slightly ahead of payments and have a buffer for winter months. If the amount of credit in your account is more than 2 monthly payments, you may want to reclaim some credit.

Additionally, if you are still in credit at the end of winter, it is a sign that your direct debit is set too high. In this case you should either reclaim the credit or reduce your monthly payments.

How can I ensure I’m not owed money at the end of my contract?

If you pay by direct debit aim to set your monthly payment so that you run out of credit as your contract ends. If your account is in credit you can use the below equation to work out what you should set your new direct debit to:

For example: if you currently pay £100 pounds per month, you have 3 months left on your contract, and your account is £90 in credit then:

If you have a prepayment meter try and ensure your credit runs out as you get to the end of your contract. You can estimate your daily usage by checking your meter at the same time on consecutive days (or for a more accurate estimate check at the same time on consecutive weeks and divide this by seven). You can then calculate a maximum amount to top up using the below:

Maximum top up = number of days left on contract x estimated daily spend

For example if you have 30 days left on your contract and use approximately £5 credit per day then you should top up by no more than £150.

How can I find out if my previous supplier owes me money?

If you think an old supplier may owe you money or you’ve switched away and not received a final bill then you should:

  • Get in touch with the supplier’s customer service
  • If possible, have an old bill and your closed account number to hand

If you find out that you are owed money then they must refund it, no matter how long ago the account was closed.

How can I reclaim energy credit?

Suppliers must refund energy credit within 8 weeks of a request being made. When you ask for a refund make sure you keep a record. If the request was made on the phone you should also send an email, so you have it in writing.

For live accounts: firstly, you will need to submit a meter reading to ensure the figures in your account are as up to date as possible and confirm that you are in credit for your usage.

You can then organise to reduce your monthly payments or reclaim credit from your supplier by getting in touch with their customer service team. You should be able to find contact details for your supplier on their website.

For closed accounts: contact your old supplier’s customer service with an old bill or account number to hand if possible.

If you had credit in an account that has been closed for some time it is worth asking to be paid any interest that the money has generated since the account was closed. Suppliers are not obligated to refund any interest, but some will.

What if my supplier refuses to refund the credit?

Your supplier may advise against taking money out of your account, but they cannot refuse to give it back to you if you insist.

If you are having issues getting a refund you can register a complaint with Ofgem, the energy regulator. You can also contact the Citizen’s Advice helpline who can advise on any applicable laws in your situation.

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