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Does your energy provider owe you money?

By Joel Stanier

30 October2021

We've all heard about people who end up in debt because they unknowingly haven't paid enough on their energy bills. But research by Gocompare.com reveals that many people have actually paid too much on their bills - and could be owed a significant sum by their energy provider.

But is it worth claiming the money back - or should you use it to put towards future bills?

Just over half (55%) of billpayers are currently 'in credit' with their gas and electricity suppliers - meaning they have paid for more than they have actually used. This happens because people who pay by Direct Debit have to pay an estimated monthly average for their usage.

The average in-credit balance stands at 80, while 13% have credit balances of more than 100.

Like a credit card, any credit on the account will be stored and will count against future bills. You are entitled to ask your supplier to give the money back - but the research reveals that only 22% of Brits have ever done this. 51% prefer to leave the money to help with future bills.

An expert at All About Money said: "Claiming back a credit on your energy account could give your finances a boost, especially ahead of the expensive festive season. But don't forget that any credit on your account will help to offset the cost of heating your home over the winter.

"For that reason alone, it may be best to wait until winter is over, and then find out if you have any remaining credit to claim back. However, don't forget that a credit on your account could also help when energy prices rise - so if you can afford to do without it, leaving that money in your account could help in the long run."

Of course, people who pay an estimated Direct Debit also run the risk of not paying enough for their energy. That's the case for many households, who end up with a debt on their account that must be repaid on top of their regular bills.

And that can cause a lot of financial strain for people already on a limited budget. "Many people don't realise they haven't paid enough for their energy until it's too late. For households who are already struggling with debt or other financial difficulties, paying back the arrears is not easy.

"We urge anyone struggling with arrears, or with their bills in general, to seek financial advice. The right advice could help them to rearrange their finances and stop the problem getting out of control."

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