How to get a refund from your energy company
If you pay for your energy by monthly direct debit, your energy company may actually be taking more money from you than it needs – in which case, you could be due a refund.
Here’s how to claim that money back.
What does it mean to be in credit with your energy company?
If you pay your energy bill by direct debit, it’s likely the amount you pay each month will be based upon an estimate of how much gas and electricity your energy supplier thinks you’ll use during that year.
If these estimates are too high, and you end up paying for more energy than you use, you will be ‘in-credit’ with your supplier, which means they will owe you money.
On the flipside, if you’re using more energy than you’re paying for, or you miss some monthly payments for any reason, you’ll end up in arrears, meaning you owe your energy provider money.
How can I find out if I’m in credit?
The simplest way to check whether you’re in credit is to check your energy bill. If you manage your account online, just log in to see your latest balance, if not, the same information should be shown on your latest paper energy bill.
How to claim your money back
If you’re in credit, you can ask for the cash back at any time and your supplier is obliged to refund it in full, unless it has ‘reasonable grounds’ to hold on to it. If your supplier refuses your request for a refund, and you don’t agree with its reasons for doing so, you can take your complaint to the energy ombudsman.
It’s worth noting that some suppliers will automatically refund your money, here is the current position of some of the UK's biggest and most popular energy suppliers, including the ‘Big Six’ energy companies:
|Energy provider||Refund policy|
|British Gas||All customers in credit by £75 or more will get full refund, subject to meter reading. If you've closed two energy accounts (gas and electricity), but you still owe money on one of them, any credit from your other account will be used to pay this off first. If you just had the one account, the money will either be refunded straight back into your bank account or you'll be sent a cheque in the account holder's name. There's more info at British Gas|
|EDF Energy||All customers in credit will get full refund, subject to meter reading. If you've switched suppliers and have received a final bill from EDF based on an actual or an estimated reading, you will automatically be refunded any credit within 14 days of your final bill/invoice. This is if you pay by Direct Debit, cash, card or cheque. More info at EDF Energy|
|E.ON||To request a refund from E.ON, you can contact them on 0843 770 5036. Have your account number at hand and any security answers you might need to speed up the process. You will need to take a meter reading to complete the process. If you've switched, then once your account is closed and your final meter reading has been agreed with your new supplier, Eon will send any refund within 10 working days unless your credit is over £500, in which case it'll take a little longer. If you were a Direct Debit customer credit will automatically be refunded to your bank. More info at .|
|Npower||If you've built up a credit of £25 or more on either your gas or electricity, this will be refunded automatically - as long as the statement was based on an actual meter reading. It takes about 10 working days. More info at Npower|
|Scottish Power||If you pay by Direct Debit, and the balance at your annual review is greater than one month's payment value or you are over £75 in credit, this will automatically be refunded. But if your credit amount is less than one month's payment value or under £75, it will be carried forward into next year's payment plan. If you switch supplier, you will be given a refund within 14 days either directly into your bank account if you pay by Direct Debit, or by cheque if you don't. If you've cancelled your Direct Debit, you'll be sent a cheque within three weeks. More info at ScottishPower|
|SSE||We always put aside credit on your account, usually about the cost of one month's energy. This amount helps with any changes in usage and costs over time. Any remaining credit (more than £5) will be automatically refunded through your Direct Debit at your review, providing it's based on an actual meter reading. If you switch, SSE will refund you any money you're owed, no matter how long it's been since your account closed. More info at SSE.|
|Bulb||If your account is in credit by more than your monthly payment amount you can email email@example.com to ask for a refund. Any refund is subject to a meter reading being taken. More info at Bulb.|
|Octopus Energy||To ask for your credit back, there's a button you'll need to press underneath your balance on your online account dashboard. If you think you're due a refund but you don't see an option on your online account, eamail firstname.lastname@example.org. More info at Octopus.|
|Ovo||You can ask for a refund if your balance higher than one month’s Direct Debitis by £25 or more. If you're switching supplier, you don’t need to do anything to claim a refund. Once your new energy supplier has sent Ovo your final meter readings and they’ve sent you our final statement, you'll be refunded the money straight into the bank account your Direct Debit used to come out of (if you’re still in credit). You should get it within 14 working days from final statement. More info at Ovo.|
Should I claim my money back?
It’s your money, so you’ve every right to claim it back – a word of warning though, your direct debit is worked out to cover a year’s worth of energy payments, so even if you’re significantly overpaying during the summer, this could easily balance itself out in the winter. And you don’t want to find yourself falling into debt, especially in winter and on the run up to Christmas.
So before you ask for a refund, weigh up whether or not you really need the money back right now and maybe discuss the situation with your supplier.
Can I claim money back from my previous supplier?
If you were in credit when you switched, there’s a chance your previous supplier owes you some money – although energy companies are meant to refund any in-credit balance when you switch to another provider, it doesn’t always work out that way.
If you suspect you may be owed money, check your old energy bills and bank statements to work out if you’re due any money back, and then give your previous supplier a call. Even if you don’t have any of this information to hand, but think you’re owed money, it’s still worth giving them a call.
For more information on the refund policies and procedures, get in touch with Citizens Advice.
What if I’m paying too much for my gas and electricity?
If you’re overpaying for your energy, providing your supplier with regular meter readings will help make your bills more accurate. This is also a good way to avoid underpaying and falling into debt.
If you’re simply paying too much because you’re using too much gas and electricity, check out our energy saving tips page, and see how you can lower your bills by cutting back on your energy usage.
And remember, one of the simplest ways to save money is to switch energy provider – enter your postcode on our energy switching page to see how much you can save.
Can I switch energy supplier if you owe money?
If you’re in arrears with your energy provider and want to switch to another company, you’ll only be able to do so if you’ve owed money to your current supplier for 28 days or less. Anything you owe will then be added to your final bill.
You may also be able to switch supplier so long you owe less than £500 and any new provider agrees to take you on as a customer. If you owe more than £500, you’ll have to get this down to £500 before you can switch. And although this only usually applies if you’re on a prepayment meter, you may be able to switch if you’re on a standard meter – it’s a least worth asking the question.
How to switch energy supplierHow to switch energy supplier with UKPower. Simply enter your postcode and we'll compare energy prices from a range of suppliers. You then choose the one you prefer and we'll take care of the rest.
Have you ever had money refunded from your energy supplier? Did you find the whole process relatively straightforward, or did your energy company make if difficult? Share your experience with our Twitter community.
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