Have you heard about back bills? Or, have your supplier sent you second bills to charge you against underpayment done by you? Well, the energy market has been facing lots of issues and has come up with various measures to resolve them. One of the issues is about wrong billing. Records suggest that two out of every ten homes get wrong bills either due to estimated meter reading or wrong meter reading. Although, the reasons are not just limited to these and there are several scenarios when a supplier sends you a second bill to correct the mistake made by them previously.
For such mistakes, Ofgem, the energy regulatory has taken action such as fining the suppliers. Even to an extent that the collective fine of £53 million was imposed on the Big Six energy companies. They were mainly due to mis-billing. As a measure to resolve this, the suppliers use the system of back billing which means they send a catch up bill with charges that were not paid by you even when you used the energy. It could be due to wrong billing or other mistakes from the side of the supplier.
Scenarios when you may face back billing:
When bills were demanded by the customer but the supplier failed to issue the bills.
Customer may not have sent meter reading to the supplier and they are charging based on estimated bills.
When the customer query has not answered a customer query and this has resulted in a debt over the time.
When the supplier charged you by mixing meter readings and did not correct the errors.
When the supplier does not respond to payment rearrangement request within 15 months.
When supplier fails to take payment and then issue massive sized bills to their customer.
Due to all these reasons, many suppliers have been sending bills to their customers months and years after they had already switched to another supplier. In the light of the fact that customers feel inconvenience due to unexpected and large back bills, Ofgem has announced in 2007 that the supplier cannot charge any customer for wrong billing done before a period of 12 months. This principle has to be followed when the supplier was at fault. Formerly called the back billing principle, this condition by Ofgem needs to be followed by all suppliers as a mandatory rule.
When the back billing principle is not applicable:
Although, it is applied as per the individual case and circumstances, it may not be applied for the following situations:
When you have to avoid paying the bill
When you have not informed the supplier on shifting to a new property and you continue to use the gas and energy supply.
When you did not allow the supplier to collect meter readings. It could be by denying access in the property.
What to do in case you got a huge back bill?
Contact the supplier and know the exact reason. Try to resolve the matter by giving proofs of you energy bills and payment details.
If that does not solve the issue then the next step is to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 08454 04 05 06 or check their website.
If this does not get you a concrete result then it’s time to contact the Energy Ombudsman. You can also check our page on the Energy Consumer guide to check more details on how to lodge a complaint against the energy supplier.
For more details about the various energy suppliers, their tariffs and quotes, check our website freepricecompare.com or call us on 02034757476.
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