If someone has recommended that you dispute your bill in response to rising energy prices it is important to consider this suggestion carefully. Disputing your bill may not be the best way to improve your situation if you are struggling, and could cause problems for you in future.
In this post we’ll go into more detail about what happens when you dispute, and what to consider if you’re concerned about keeping on top of your payments as costs increase.
Disputes occur when a customer feels like a company has mishandled something or got something wrong.
It is common that someone will raise a dispute if they feel they have been charged for more energy than they have actually consumed.
Energy bills are calculated based on the units of energy (kilowatt hours) you use. Your energy supplier will use the meter readings you provide (either manually or through a smart meter) to work out your usage. If they don’t have meter readings for you then your usage will be estimated instead.
Your bill will indicate whether your readings have been estimated or not, and for how much energy you have been charged.
The amount you are charged per unit can depend on your supplier and your tariff. You can find what tariff you are on by looking at your energy bills. These prices may change in line with the energy price cap increase.
Your supplier will investigate your case to make sure they have taken your actual usage (where possible) into account when calculating your bills.
If your supplier finds that they billed you for more energy than you used, your bill should be updated. Likewise, your supplier could end up charging you more if they discover that you were previously undercharged. This could come in the form of a consolidated bill or back-bill. It’s important to note that your energy company is not allowed to back-bill you for energy you used more than 12 months ago.
If your energy company finds they have billed you accurately, you will be liable to pay the full amount. If you don’t pay for your energy, or do not engage with your supplier in any way, they could take action against you.
You can read through this article to understand how to check your bill if you feel you have been charged too much for your energy.
Your supplier should keep in touch with you about changes to their pricing, so you should also review any communications from them to see if this is the cause.
Other common explanations for a larger energy bill are:
In some cases it is worth disputing your bill, but only if the usage your energy supplier has charged you for is incorrect (e.g. your meter reading was wrong), or estimated.
If you still don’t understand why your energy bill has increased you should contact your energy supplier for an explanation as soon as you can. If something is wrong you should have the opportunity to raise a dispute.
1. Contact your energy supplier as soon as you can
There is support available if you are struggling to pay for your energy. If you are worried, it is important to let your supplier know so they can support you.
When you get in touch your supplier could:
2. Consider whether you can keep on top of your bills for the time being
Getting the right support or exploring your options can sometimes take time. If you are not paying your energy bills in the meantime it could cause problems for you in future by leaving you in debt.
If you are already in debt, you should consider whether you are able to keep paying your usage for now so that your balance won’t increase. When you contact your supplier they should discuss manageable payment options with you.
If you don’t think you can afford your current bills, even for a short time, it is especially important that you contact your supplier so they know you need urgent help.
3. Find the support you need
There is help available to relieve the pressure from the energy crisis.
4. Not sure where to start?
With so much information out there it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. If you know you need help but aren’t sure what to start with you could use the tools below to help you think things through:
Your first step could simply be deciding to talk to someone for more advice. You can find a local adviser for benefits, housing, jobs, and legal issues here. You can find a list of free debt advice organisations here.