Ofgem has announced new rules that will formally ban energy suppliers from back-billing for energy used more than 12 months earlier. Over the years MoneySavingExpert.com has heard reports from hundreds of customers who’ve had big final bills after several months, especially from Npower and Scottish Power.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com said: “While it’s never a bad thing to have existing practice turned into rules, this is not going to solve the problem for many families. It is absolutely outrageous that when people have left an energy firm, given a meter reading and paid what they believe is their final bill, they can nearly a year later suddenly get another bill for say, £1000, kiboshing their budgeting and their family finances. A year is simply too long.
“We have a quarterly billing cycle, and we believe that the whole system of final bills especially needs to be improved. When you’re told you’ve got a final bill, that should be a final bill. If it isn’t, it should be called a ‘provisional bill’ and you must have your final bill within three months of leaving an energy provider. Waiting up to a year and giving people a false comfort that they’re clear of their obligations – when in fact they are going to get a massive unexpected and illogical bill shock later – just isn’t good enough.”
About Martin Lewis: Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is the journalist and consumer campaigner who created MoneySavingExpert.com and is now the site’s Executive Chair. Martin also founded and chairs the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity.
He’s the UK’s most-googled man, Citizens Advice’s Consumer Champion of the Year, and has spearheaded major financial justice campaigns including bank charges reclaiming (over seven million template letters downloaded), PPI reclaiming (over six million) and a successful large-scale campaign to get financial education in schools. He has his own prime-time ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, as well as a range of other regular media slots. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014.
About MoneySavingExpert.com: MoneySavingExpert.com is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site Alexa.com, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 12 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month. In September 2012, it joined the MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC.