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Does an energy supplier owe you money?

Pound coins on energy prices

The Big Six have been asked by Ofgem to return millions to former customers after it was found they were holding £400m in credit from closed accounts. Are you owed money by your previous energy supplier?

The energy regulator found the big suppliers holding at least £202m from around 3.5 million families and £204m from businesses.

This follows commitments from Eon, EDF, British Gas, SSE and Npower to refund credit balances of £5 or more on direct debit accounts to existing customers.

Return your money

Ofgem’s investigations found ‘an unacceptably large amount of money being retained rather than returned to consumers’ and today it called on energy companies to ‘do all they can to return this money and restore consumer trust’.

In response, British Gas, Eon and Npower have each said they do everything they can to refund any money owed to ex-customers. However, they also pointed out that the value of customer debt owed to them outweighs this. For example, British Gas says it was owed £200m by customers at September 2013, compared to the £40m owed to customers.

Full competition enquiry

If it’s true, it’s obviously shocking that the Big Six are sitting on millions of pounds worth of your cash. We’re urging suppliers to return this money as soon as possible and to be clearer on what you need to do when you close accounts.

Today’s news again shows why change in the energy market is urgently needed. Ofgem’s currently investigating the energy market, and we look forward to seeing its final conclusions. However, to really fix the broken energy market, we want a full competition inquiry so that you can be confident that the market works well for you, as well as shareholders.

Are you owed money by an energy supplier? How long have they had a hold of it?

If you think you might be owed money by an energy supplier, contact them directly – here’s our guide with contact numbers for each energy supplier.

Comments
Member

While this is amazing news I pay for what I use, as I use it, so I don’t build up a debt or credit on my account. I also do this so the energy companies are not making money on any credit balance I may hold.

But, for others who are in credit and have moved this is really good news.

Member

The argument that customers owe them more than they owe us is seems a bit contrived by someone – they are not the same customers of course.
Ofgem are in process of making a competition enquiry:
“……Ofgem would work with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) / Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as appropriate, to carry out a market assessment in order to monitor the behaviour of market participants and ensure the market is working for residential and small business consumers and that all suppliers can compete fairly.” and a first assessment is due by end March.
The link is https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/letter-ofgem-oft-and-cma-secretary-state-competition-energy-markets
“Broken market” is a politician’s populist headline – let’s keep this apolitical and see whether Ofgem perform properly, and not indulge in headline-grabbing rhetoric.

Member

For years I was almost always in credit and have even had my direct debit increased when I had a substantial credit balance. At least e.on always responded positively to my many requests to make amends, even if others have not been so lucky.

I recently ended up in debit and within hours I received an email to say that my direct debit would rise by about 10%. I expect it will not be long before I am back in credit.

I am now on a fixed price contract with Scottish Power and at the end of that I want to move to a tariff that lets me pay what I owe – not a penny more or less – as a matter of principle.

We often think of unethical companies as those that underpay adults, exploit children, wreck the environment and so on, but you don’t need to look beyond our large energy suppliers to see plenty of examples of unethical behaviour.

Member

Wavechange – I too have a fixed rate online DD contract with Scottish Power but I have been experiencing difficulty in accessing my online account for some time now. I keep receiving messages stating they are updating their website with accompanying apologies.

Member

Beryl – I have just done a quick check and have seen an unhelpful message: “Something went wrong
We are sorry for the inconvenience
If you were dealing with an urgent matter, please call us on 0800 001 5138.” The error message originates from Iberdrola, the Spanish owner of Scottish Power.

Perhaps you should give them a ring on their free number. When my switch from e.on was not going at all well, I had a long chat with a helpful fellow Scot, who was obviously from the Glasgow area where SP has its headquarters in the UK. When I enquired if SP would try to keep me in credit in the same way that e.on had, she said they would and gave an explanation for why this was a good idea. 🙁

Member

I hope the lights will not go out if there is independence – or will SP move its headquarters into the mother country? 🙂 🙁 🙂

Member

Indeed. And it is a great pity that we have allowed other countries have so much control over our energy supply.

Member

Many thanks for the helpful info Wavechange. I will certainly chase SP up on the number you posted if the situation doesn’t change soon.

Member

It’s working now, though I spotted a dead link when exploring their website.