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Beware of energy companies overcharging

Beware of energy companies overcharging

Category: Gas and electricity

Updated: 21/11/2013
First Published: 21/11/2013

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

A new report released from consumer campaign body Keep Me Posted has revealed that, not only do energy customers face even bigger bills when price hikes come into effect, but a large proportion are actually being overcharged by their energy supplier – news which will only add to the level of consumer dissatisfaction and potentially encourage even more switching to take place.

The research found that 30% of those surveyed had discovered an error on their energy bill and over a quarter (28%) had been overcharged, with the average mistake costing consumers around £121 each. It's a costly error, and one which could leave already struggling households with even bigger (and unnecessary) bills to pay.

Interestingly, however, it's those who receive paper statements that are more likely to spot a mistake – 41% compared to 29% who read their bills online – but this disparity could be because people are more likely to actively check their bills when they're in paper form.

That's why campaigners are urging energy customers to thoroughly check their bills for mistakes, no matter how they choose to receive them, ensuring any errors are spotted and rectified to prevent unnecessary financial difficulty.

The news that companies are overcharging comes at a time when the firms themselves are actively raising prices, and on the day when National Grid has announced profits have soared to £1.2 billion.

Energyhelpline's Mark Todd is urging National Grid to give those profits back to customers rather than shareholders, as their charges currently make up around £175 of every energy bill – an amount that could well be lowered if the company reduced its levies on energy suppliers.

Meanwhile, consumers that are facing ever-increasing energy costs might want to consider switching to a different supplier, and they shouldn't overlook the smaller firms either. Recent price rises by five of the big six have meant a lot of consumers have switched to independent alternatives, which could be a great option for those looking to reduce the impact of impending hikes.

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