Power companies might be banned from charging catch-up payments for gasoline and electrical energy used greater than 12 months earlier, below the regulator’s plans.
Clients who pay by way of direct debit usually obtain payments primarily based on estimated meter readings.
When an precise studying is taken, the corporate “back-bills” the shopper for any shortfall between funds and the vitality used.
Residents Recommendation says that the payments hit hundreds of kilos in some circumstances.
Its analysis final yr confirmed that as many as 2.1 million shoppers a yr obtain some kind of catch up invoice, at a mean of £206.
In 2007, vitality suppliers signed a voluntary dedication promising to not back-bill home clients for vitality used greater than 12 months beforehand, if the provider was at fault.
The enlargement of the market has led to issues that some aren’t holding to this settlement, and regulator Ofgem desires to put in writing it into the foundations by the winter.
“We count on suppliers to place their clients first, which is why we’re proposing a brand new enforceable rule to offer this safety,” stated Rachel Fletcher, senior accomplice at Ofgem.
Gillian Man, chief govt of Residents Recommendation, stated: “Shock gasoline and electrical energy payments can throw individuals’s funds into disarray.
“We helped one one that acquired a invoice for over £three,000 after their vitality firm stopped taking their direct debit cost however did not inform the shopper. The agency refused to use the 12 month back-bill restrict, leaving the shopper to pay the total invoice.
“We have lengthy been calling on the regulator to introduce a compulsory time restrict for again payments as an alternative of counting on voluntary motion, which suppliers have refused to use in some circumstances.”
The regulator is planning to cut back the again invoice time restrict when extra correct good meters develop into the norm in houses. Residents Recommendation is looking for this deadline to be lowered to a few months.