Energy companies may hike payments by ‘more than necessary’ – are you being overcharged?
How can you try to keep energy bills down?
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Energy watchdog Ofgem has criticised moves by energy suppliers who are thought to be making incredible increases on direct debit payments. Britons have been advised to complain to their supplier if they believe they are being overcharged.
Ofgem Chief Executive, Jonathan Brearley, shared that “concerns have been raised” in regards to customers being overcharged.
He continued: “Some suppliers may have been increasing direct debit payments by more than is necessary, or directing customers to tariffs that may not be in their best interest.”
Britons using direct debit to pay their energy bills will have noticed a hike in their payments which is expected as energy prices increases, but those facing financial difficulties should be provided with flexibility from their supplier to pay off their debts.
Citizens Advice noted that suppliers must let their customers know about the increase before it happens, and those not made aware of it can complain to their supplier.
They also suggested Britons send monthly meter readings to ensure their supplier has their direct debit payments set at the right amount, and can then ensure the readings on their bill match the ones they have taken.
Britons who feel their direct debits have been incorrectly increased can challenge the increase with their supplier, asking them to justify the calculations of the new amount.
Citizens Advice shared on their website: “They must explain clearly how they reached the figure they want to charge, and give you the meter readings they used.”
Britons who believe they have paid too much could try claim their money back from their supplier or ask their supplier to lower their monthly payment level to better reflect their energy usage.
If a supplier refuses to do this Britons can then make a formal complaint.
Energy companies have been struggling to make profits, with many going under in the last six months.
As the cost of energy rose, Ofgem announced in February that the energy price cap would increase by almost £700 in April.
This became a devastating blow for many as National Insurance, inflation and petrol prices also skyrocketed this month.
The energy bills support scheme and council tax rebate were announced in reaction to this, easing some of the pressure off of British pockets.
The £150 council tax rebate will be automatic for direct debit customers and will not need to be repaid.
However, the £200 energy bill support will be paid back over the next five years through annual £40 payments.
All households using domestic electricity will be automatically eligible for the £200, with the Government expecting it to be automatically applied to bills in October this year.
The Government has reported that this is “not a loan” as there is no interest payable and it will not affect Britons’ credit rating, rather they say “it is a grant now with a levy on future bill payers”.
It has been criticised that the support does not cover even half of the energy price cap increase.
Britons have been outspoken of their criticisms with both this scheme and the energy price rises, with some noting they have awoken to a shocking Easter surprise.
Mark Clemence, who claims to work with Citizens Advice, added to a social media conversation about energy bill rises with a devastating acknowledgement: “I have clients whose new energy bills now exceed their pensions, and they are not rare. The Trussell Trust alone distributed over 2.5 million food parcels last year. If you earn less than £30k, you are in trouble.”
Twitter user Chris noted: “Failing to address the problems of ordinary people with the energy bills crisis suggest the government are also out of touch. Sad days.”
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