Households are owed £909m by their energy providers after an unseasonably warm winter, according to research from a price comparison site.
Temperatures hit 21 degrees last month as Britain recorded its hottest winter day in history. The February heat could mean you are owed money.
The research, carried out by Moneysupermarket.com, suggested more than eight million households could be in credit to a supplier to the tune of £108 on average. The high temperatures mean less energy was consumed but this is unlikely to have been reflected in bills for the two-thirds of the country that pays for energy via direct debit.
Industry rules mean that, as long as up-to-date meter readings are provided, customers can claim back any credit they have built up with energy firms. Alternatively they can request a reduction to monthly payments to redress the balance.
Stephen Murray, from the site, said: “The easiest way to find out if you’re owed money is by taking a meter reading and giving it to your provider, so they know exactly how much energy you’re using, rather than just charging you based on estimated usage. For many people bills are big enough without paying for energy you don’t use.”
According to the research, people in Northern Ireland could reclaim the highest amount from suppliers – £209 – while Co-operative Energy customers paying via direct debit have the highest credit balances of £196 on average.
A spokesman for Energy UK, the industry trade body, said the smart meter roll-out would make estimated bills and submitting meter readings “a thing of the past”.
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He added: “Energy companies aim to smooth direct debits payments over the course of the year so that customers pay the same during peak-usage winter months as they would during the summer months when often less energy is used.
“Such regular payments help customers with budgeting but in order for suppliers to set the direct debits at the right level, they need regular meter readings. While many suppliers automatically refund credit balances once a year, if customers have any questions about their account or the refund of credit they should contact their energy supplier.”
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