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Brief cases: has your energy bill ever been recalculated?

Woman reading bill looking shocked

Which? Legal member Ian Walker came to us for advice after his energy firm tried to recalculate his bill and charge him extra. Has your energy supplier ever changed your bill?

Ian switched gas and electricity supplier from British Gas to First Utility in October 2012 and had a new gas meter fitted by National Grid in June 2013.

First Utility was told and given the old and new meter readings. But when Ian checked his bill in July, his energy use had been recalculated using a higher ‘calorific value’ – a measure of heating power – than previously and First Utility wanted an extra £23.19

Ian queried this, and First Utility said that it had performed a ‘credit and re-bill’ on his account to correct any discrepancies that there may have been with previous billing. It later contacted him again and said the increased charge was in fact due to his change of meter.

Our advice on ‘credit and re-bill’

image for convo

Ian came to us for advice. We said that he should write to First Utility to say that he wasn’t satisfied with its reply, to ask it to justify that its action was legal and to show where its terms and  conditions allowed it to re-bill him. We also advised that he could go to the energy ombudsman if the case wasn’t resolved within eight weeks.

First Utility didn’t reply, so Ian went to the ombudsman. It asked First Utility to explain the charges, to give Ian a written apology and credit his account with £25 as a goodwill gesture. First Utility agreed to this and also refunded the £23.19 recharge. Ian accepted this.

What the law says on amendments to bills

If an energy supplier amends your bill, you are entitled to ask where its terms and conditions authorise it to do so. Energy suppliers are regulated by Ofgem, which aims to protect the interests of consumers. Ofgem requires energy suppliers to comply with its standards of conduct, including investigating any customer complaints in an honest, transparent and professional manner.

If you aren’t satisfied with how your complaint is handled by your supplier, then you can ask the ombudsman to investigate further. The service is free and impartial.

Has your energy bill ever been recalculated? Did you have any difficulties getting answer from your energy supplier?

Comments
Guest
LMapletoft says:
17 December 2014

My latest energy bill with nPower came recently it was twice what I was expecting. I’ve tried ringing and given up after half an hour. To top it all I had nPower calling this morning to read my energy bill even though I gave them an updated version a week ago. I will definitely be changing companies very soon and will be watching to see from other users which company comes up best for phone calls, pricing, and customer satisfaction.

Guest

I have been with ovo for 2 winters. I was under the impression that if i am in a fixed plan for both gas & elect that my monthly payments were set @ the time for £60, however during the last year they have gone from the agreed 60 to £85! i was once told by them that if i pay £26 my d/d would go down again. i paid the 26 then they took another 85! what part of fixed is really fixed? I thought the idea was that they couldn,t change it. they are however very helpful & polite if you call them but they still take the money.

Guest
Captain Hector says:
1 January 2015

I’ve just changed suppliers having been with npower for three years. I thought I’d better check their figures after seeing just how much they had made adjustments to my bills. I simply added up how much I’d paid (by direct debit) and calculated the cost of the energy I’d used. It would appear that they’ve overcharged me by over £370. Check the figures people.

Guest
Noel L says:
6 December 2016

Hi,

I was supplied with Electricity from First Utility from June 2014 when we moved house. We did not have a gas supply to the house initially but we had gas brought to the house in September 2014. We asked First Utility to supply our gas and migrate us to a dual fuel account. FU did not begin to bill us until Feb 15 but we had 2 separate accounts. I called each month with the gas meter readings and on each occasion asked for us to be migrated to a dual fuel account. Each month I was promised that this would be done and I would be called back. I never received any call and the account was never migrated. This went on for months and months. During this time I was paying by DD £59 for electricity and £60 for gas. This was the right amount on average, in fact I received a credit of £300 in Dec ’15 due to over payments.

My tariff expired in July 2016 by which time FU had still failed to migrate me to a dual fuel tariff. I decided instead to move to NPower and this was completed on 12/8/6.

I heard nothing from First Utilty for 4 months until 5/12/16, 4 months after leaving them. On this date they sent me a “recalculated bill” for electricity only, the entire period I had been with them. On the bill, they credited every payment made then calculated the figures and informed me that I owed them £345 which they intended to take on 15th Dec (and a happy Christmas to me!).

I have contacted them and they state it is due to ‘issues obtaining meter readings’ saying they have not been able to obtain a meter reading since Feb 16: (we have a smart meter fitted. They have never informed me that they have been unable to read the meter for 6 months. They were given a meter reading when I left them).

The recalculated bill has an increase in the rate to the variable rate from 5/4/16 when our deal didn’t expire until 31/7/16.

They have been unable to give a reasonable explanation as to why it has taken 4 months to recalculate the bill. To add insult, I questioned the position with my Gas account and was told it was £157.61 in credit. I have never been informed of this and wonder if they would ever have credited this. Initially they said they would not credit me until the Electricity bill has been paid. I pointed out that they are 2 separate accounts, despite my efforts to get them to join them, so they have agreed to credit me for this.

I now feel that I have been treated very unfairly, and put under an enormous amount of stress this close to Christmas. What makes me even more angry is that I spent hours and hours on the phone every month over the period from Feb 15 to July 16 trying to get them to migrate me to a dual fuel account, which was a complete waste of time.