The Consumer Lawyer

Common problems with energy suppliers

Over the past few weeks I have been receiving lots of complaints about energy suppliers and from what you are telling me, many of the top suppliers are flouting the rules.

They won’t let me switch suppliers

Jim from Liverpool decided that it was time to shop around for a new supplier to see if he could get a cheaper deal. He found a far better deal on a comparison site but was then informed by his supplier that he could not switch until he had cleared his debt with them. Jim was unaware that he had any arrears but it then transpired that his supplier had issued a catch-up bill that purported to levy charges for a period when Jim was incorrectly charged.

The supplier in my view is wrong as in circumstances where it is the supplier’s fault you are in debt, they cannot stop you from switching. Here, it is clearly the supplier’s fault in that they failed to bill Jim properly.

They say I must have a smart meter

Lots of people have been telling me that they have received letters from their suppliers stating that their meter is old and now needs to be replaced with a smart meter. Lailah from London was told that she could not move to a cheaper tariff unless she had a smart meter.

Suppliers cannot compel their customers to have smart meters, as they are not compulsory. However, they are allowed to limit the tariff deals they offer you without a smart meter.

My supplier was switched without my authority

Eric from Loughborough switched suppliers without his knowledge and therefore, without his consent. This is known as ‘erroneous’ switching and is actually fairly common. I have advised Eric that he is entitled to have his supply switched back to the original supplier and he is entitled to compensation.

 I’ve received a huge catch up bill

Liam from Folkestone received a letter from his supplier informing him that he had been under-billed for the past 18 months as they had applied the wrong tariff. Two days later he received a catch-up bill. It amazes me that energy suppliers still do this, as they all know that as of May 2018, Ofgem prohibited back billing for more than 12 prior months.

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