Two in 10 householders (19%) have been billed incorrectly by their energy supplier in the last two years, new research reveals.
The figure is an improvement from last year (25%) but the energy industry is still the second worst for getting bills wrong – behind banks, council tax departments and mortgage companies – and only trumped by HMRC, according to price comparison site uSwitch.
It claims the number of households that have “suddenly ended up owing money” to their energy suppliers following inconsistencies between an estimated bill and a “real bill” has risen from just over 9.6 million last year to over 10 million this year.
The average amount owed is now £146 although over one in 10 have “unexpectedly” ended up owing £200-£400 while 7% owing over £400.
Last week Britain’s Big Six energy firms were told to hand back more than £400 million they hold from closed accounts to former customers by Ofgem.
uSwitch also claims consumers are having to wait longer for billing issues to be resolved – rising from just over a month to almost two months.
The trade body for the energy industry insists power suppliers are “working hard” to ensure customers pay the right amount but knows more work needs to be done.
An EnergyUK spokesperson added: “The key to getting billing right is an accurate meter reading. Energy UK’s Code of Practice for Accurate Bills sets out rules for standards of billing and the smart meter roll out will help reduce inaccurate billing.
“But for now, customers can help by making sure suppliers have regular meter readings. There are also industry reforms underway. New reforms are putting the focus on customer service and information and making the energy industry easier for customers to understand.”