If you switched supplier you may be owed money. Why? If your account was in credit when you switched, you may not have been given an automatic refund at the time. The energy suppliers had different policies when it came to giving refunds – but now they have to try and refund the cash.
Q. Who’s getting a refund?
A. If you switched energy supplier and your account was in credit, you may not have been given the money at the time. That’s right, your energy supplier could have chosen to hang onto the money. There may have been a good reason for this if – for example – you paid by cheque and didn’t leave a forwarding address or if the account holder died and there was no-one to sort out their financial affairs afterwards.
But some energy suppliers just decided not to give their customers back their money if it was below a certain amount – such as £30 – unless they asked. The suppliers say that nine out of ten people did get a refund at the time, but that still means one out of ten didn’t.
Q. Isn’t this against the rules?
A. It wasn’t. According to the regulator, Ofgem, there were no specific rules about how or when a company had to give a customer who was leaving to go to another supplier, the money that was in their account, but which wasn’t needed to pay their bills. However, there was a billing code which said money should be refunded within 28 days.
Q. How much could I get?
A. Ofgem estimated that £200 million was owed to 3.5 million household customers (around £57 each), with a further £200 million owed to small businesses (around £660 each).
You may have been in credit by much more, or much less.
Q. How do I claim?
A. Your first step is to get in touch with your old energy supplier. The big six energy providers have launched a website called myenergycredit.com, which includes links to the relevant parts of the suppliers’ websites where they explain how you can get back your own money.
SAVVY TIP: Energy UK has also launched a phone number and a freepost address for people to claim in case they don’t want to or can’t use the internet. There’s a phone number: 0370 737 7770 or you can write to them at: Freepost RTHL-ZYBU-KBCC, My Energy Credit, 47 Aylesbury Road, Thame, OX9 3PG.
You can find the information directly by going to the energy supplier’s website.
British Gas has a section called I have left British Gas and am in credit.
EDF Energy has information on unclaimed credit. There’s also a form you can fill in if you’ve closed your account and think you may be in credit.
nPower has information on what happens if you close your account and are in credit.
It also has a form you can fill in if you think you were due a refund.
Scottish Power has a section on getting a refund if you’re in credit.
Scottish and Southern also has information about credits being repaid to closed accounts. I
SAVVY TIP: Scottish and Southern’s other brands have their own forms: if you’re a Swalec customer you can find out about unclaimed credits on its site, Southern Electric has information on unclaimed credits on its site, Scottish Hydro has information on unclaimed credits on its site and Scottish Atlantic has unclaimed credit information on its site.
Q. Do suppliers have to pay back money now?
A. Yes, the energy regulator introduced a new rule which says that energy companies must repay money if an account is in credit when it is closed. The energy companies recommend you don’t cancel your Direct Debit straight away as they use this to pay your refund. The energy company should not take any further payments after you’ve supplied the final reading. If you have cancelled your Direct Debit, you should be sent a cheque instead.
SAVVY TIP: Despite these new rules, Scottish Power says that you still have to contact it to get a refund if you are in credit by less than £5 when you switch supplier or if your bills have been based on estimated readings (you can read about it on their website).
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