FAMILIES will want to know if they are being overcharged for energy as complaints about billing mistakes soar.
Households are suffering eye-watering hikes to their bills as the energy crisis continues to wreck havoc on finances.
Soaring wholesale energy prices are to blame – last year gas prices shot up more than 250% compared to where they started the year.
Unable to pass rising costs onto customers on a fixed tariff, suppliers are struggling to cope, with 26 providers collapsing last year.
As a result, some households are now being double charged after their provider has gone bust – The Sun has reported customers have seen payments taken from both the old and new supplier.
For example, former customers of People’s Energy – who are now with British Gas – were still seeing cash paid to their old provider more than two months after it collapsed in September.
While EonNext took over Igloo’s 179,000 customers when it collapsed in October – but some complained that payments were being taken by the old provider at the end of November.
Complaints about billing blunders have surged as a result.
Most read in Money
Customers reporting issues about power firms reached a record-breaking high of 18,994 complaints between July and September last year – up 33% the same period the year before, according to the Energy Ombudsman.
Spats over bills was the most common issue, making up half of complaints logged.
And in just one month, separate research from consumer group Resolver showed customer complaints shot up by 25% in one month between October to November.
Here’s how to make sure you’re not paying more than you should for your bills.
How to avoid paying extra on your bills
Resolver consumer expert Martyn James said the best way to check if you’re being overcharged on your bills is to keep track of how much energy you are using.
The best way to do this is to take regular readings of your gas and electricity meter and take photos.
If you think you’re not using as much energy as what you’re being charged for, then you should get in touch with your provider and send them the pictures you have to try and get a better rate.
Another reason why it’s good to keep regular meter readings is because suppliers usually check your individual energy consumption twice a year.
If you don’t send in meter readings, your provider will send an estimated bill. That could be much higher than what you’re using in reality.
For example, your provider could have used your energy consumption during winter to base what you need to pay for your summer bill.
Your readings will help your supplier calculate your bills more accurately – but it could work against your favour too, Uswitch energy policy expert Justina Miltienyte warns.
“This may reveal that you have been using more (or less) energy than your supplier has been charging you for.
“If you are using more, your supplier can raise your payments to reflect this change.”
You might also want to check whether your meter is working properly.
Although Citizens Advice says meter faults are rare, they can happen – and it could be causing a billing mistake.
Last year households were urged by Citizens Advice to check for billing blunders.
Martin Lewis has also explained whether to fix your energy bills now ahead of an expected £600 rise.
It comes as the government has ruled out scrapping VAT on energy bills that could save £100 a year.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team?