A new survey revealed that 29 per cent of UK energy customers have been overcharged by an average of £121.
UK energy companies were recently accused of “daylight robbery” after the survey results were published, indicating that more than 25 per cent of Britons are being overcharged through billing mistakes.
The average billing error costs UK customers £121 per year, suggesting energy companies benefit to the tune of £650 million or more each year.
According to Clare Welton of Fuel Poverty Action, the average annual energy bill from the UK’s ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers is now approaching £1,500 annually per household. After a recent series of price increases, Welton believes the “profiteers” should not be overcharging customers.
“This daylight robbery disguised as sloppy service from energy companies is yet another blow to the idea that the Big Six, or any bodies that put profit before people’s needs, are in any way suitable to be running our energy system,” said Welton.
The survey, which was launched by the Consumer Intelligence consultancy firm, polled 2,000 people from around the UK.
Nearly one-third of the survey respondents reported finding at least one error on their energy bill, and almost 30 per cent said they had been overcharged. Further research suggests that the average overcharge amounted to £121.
Of those polled by Consumer Intelligence, more than 40 per cent of customers who receive paper bills found an error, compared to only 29 per cent of those who receive and pay their bills online. Younger individuals seem to be especially prone to “online blindness” as a mere nine per cent of people under the age of 25 reported that they check their online bills for errors.
“For many, the arrival of a letter on the doormat is a welcome prompt to consider and act on their bills in a timely manner. With a high percentage of people finding costly mistakes in their bills, and energy companies squeezing customers with price hikes, Keep Me Posted is urging energy providers to give customers the choice of receiving paper statements, which has been proven to help consumers manage their finances more effectively, said Judith Donovan, chair of Keep Me Posted.
A spokesperson for Energy UK, a firm that represents the major power suppliers, stated that customers receiving online or paper bills should regularly check them for errors. According to the spokesperson, customers should regularly provide their energy suppliers with their meter readings, and when they believe a mistake has been made, they should immediately contact their energy supplier.