If you’re in credit to your old supplier, you need to request a refund of your credit amount. If your energy supplier has an up-to-date meter reading this should mean they're able to refund your credit easily. They can either transfer the credit amount directly to your bank account or they'll send you a cheque.
However, if you’re in debit, you’ll need to clear it as soon as possible. If you don’t your old supplier could object to your transfer which can cause severe delays to your move. You can ask for a payment plan if you’re having trouble paying, which will still allow you to switch while spreading the cost of the amount you owe to your old supplier.
What is energy credit?
Your energy supplier bills you for your estimated energy usage. If this estimation is higher than your actual gas and electricity usage you may find your account starts to accrue credit.
However, if you use more than the estimated usage then your account will fall into debt.
Is my energy account in credit?
To find out if your energy account is in credit you’ll need to check your latest bill or your online account. Depending on how you pay for your energy and the type of tariff you are on you may or may not be charged the same amount every month.
For instance, if you pay for a fixed rate tariff on direct debit, you’ll be charged the same amount each month regardless of how much gas or electricity you have consumed until your supplier next reviews how much you pay. It may seem that you’re paying too much during the summer months but you’ll start accumulating credit on your account. Then, during the winter months where your usage is higher, you’ll find that the credit you have built up goes towards offsetting your increased energy consumption.
If your gas or electricity bill is still in credit when you switch energy supplier or move home, you can claim this back as a refund.
Some energy suppliers ask for a month’s payment at the start of your switch. This acts as a buffer to help prevent you falling into energy debt before your new plan even starts.
If you use a prepayment meter it’s more than likely that you are in credit to your energy supplier when you move home or switch. Your meter will clearly display any remaining credit and you are able to claim this back.
Can Ofgem help with credit refunds?
Currently, Ofgem is unable to provide assistance. However, they are introducing new rules that will force energy suppliers to automatically refund customers any credit they may have in their account on the anniversary of their contract beginning.
The belief is that suppliers are using the non-refunded credit to fund otherwise unsustainable business practices. Such as energy companies relying on the extra money in the summer to support their business financially while offering discounted gas and electricity deals.
If these new rules are approved they won’t come into force until 2022. Meaning in the meantime customer will have to continue requesting their refunds.
Can you change energy supplier while in credit?
You can change your energy supplier at any time, just remember it may be subject to exit fees depending on your plan and how long your contract has left.
It is possible that you’ll be in credit at the moment you switch, in fact, it’s estimated that 50% of the UK is owed money by energy suppliers.
To ensure your energy provider can accurately calculate your final bill it’s important you take a final meter reading. If you do this and you are in credit, your energy supplier should be able to refund your credit easily.What happens to credit when you switch?
When you switch energy supplier your credit is considered your ‘closed account balance’ and it should reflect the remaining credit in your final bill. If you do have credit in your account, you can request a credit refund.
When should you request a credit refund?
You can claim a credit refund at any point, not just when you’re closing your account. This can be beneficial if you need a little extra in your current account. However, being in credit with your supplier isn’t a bad thing as it provides a financial cushion for the months when your energy consumption is higher.
If you are switching energy supplier you should start the refund process while your current energy account is being closed and your switch is happening.
Do energy companies have to give refunds?
Yes, they do. It also doesn’t matter how much time as passed, your energy credit should still be refunded.
The refund process is smoother if you have your account details to hand. So keeping hold of your bills is beneficial if you ever need to make a claim. As long as you have the address they were providing energy for the energy company should be able to find your account details. You don’t have to be living at the residence in order to make a refund claim.
How are energy credit refunded?
Depending on the energy supplier the way you’re refunded is different. Some suppliers choose to transfer money into your account while others opt to send cheques.
If the supplier is sending you a cheque and you have recently moved, make sure you provide them with your new address.
What happens if your supplier refuses your refund request?
Contacting Citizens Advice should be your first port of call if your supplier refuses your refund or you’re experiencing unjustifiable delays.
If you’ve been through your suppliers official complaints process, and you’re dissatisfied with the outcome you can also approach the Energy Ombudsman for free. They are able to pursue the issue on your behalf and if the decision is made in your favor you can expect to receive your refund with 28 days.
Learn more about making a complaint about your energy supplier.
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