Energy Consumers ‘Overcharged by More Than £100m’
August 16, 2017
Energy consumers across the UK were overcharged by their energy suppliers in recent quarters by a collective total of over £100 million.
That’s according to the price comparison and switching service uSwitch, whose figures suggest that roughly 1.3 million British consumers were overcharged by their gas and electricity suppliers in the 12 months prior to May of this year.
The average amount by which consumers were reckoned to have been overcharged by their energy supplier was £79, with the associated issues taking an average of 35 days to resolve.
However, in many cases, individuals and households will have unwittingly paid bills that were inaccurate and should have been considerably lower.
According to uSwitch, around 27 per cent of energy consumers don’t read their bills properly and check whether or not they’re accurate.
A lack of proper awareness of what the information on energy bills is intended to mean is believed to be part of the issue, with 21 per cent of people who don’t read their bills saying that they simply don’t understand them.
The most common reason why someone was overcharged for their energy use was that suppliers charged amounts that did not correspond to meter readings given by consumers.
Incorrect direct debit payment charges and bills not being added up correctly were also issues apparently faced by many of the energy consumers polled by uSwitch.
“Customers having to pay the price for suppliers’ mistakes is unacceptable,” said Claire Osborne, energy expert at uSwitch.
“Households are already feeling the pinch from recent energy price rises, and having to chase for an average of 35 days to get their money back simply adds insult to injury.
“We want to see companies do much more to make life easier for their customers, accurate bills are the bare minimum they should expect from their energy suppliers.”
According to the price comparison service comparethemarket.com, there was a sharp rise in the number of people changing their energy supplier recently when British Gas announced plans to increase its electricity bills for three million of its customers by as much as 12.5 per cent.
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