It’s no secret that most people don’t like their gas and electricity supplier. Thousands of our boiler breakdown cover members are people who previously had boiler cover with one of the Big Six energy firms but who were fed up paying high prices for a poor standard of cover, and had been overcharged, had their bills messed up or had seen the cost of their services escalate dramatically with no warning.
Therefore, it was no surprise to us to see that Gocompare.com found that 50% of households have been overcharged by their energy supplier and now have accounts in credit. And it’s not just a few erroneous pennies here and there – on average, people in credit to their energy supplier are owed £90.20 on average, with 29% being owed more than £100. Accordingly, utility providers are making an astounding £1.2 billion in profit by overcharging customers.
Many overcharging issues relate to direct debit payments. Direct debits are incredibly popular for both consumers and businesses – many of our boiler breakdown, appliance and home emergency cover customers use direct debits – but when bills are variable, such as with energy supplies, this method of billpaying can easily lead to overcharging.
Energy companies may offer discounts to customers that pay via direct debit, but they calculate the cost of direct debits by estimating a customer’s yearly energy consumption and dividing this into monthly charges. If their original estimate is too high, this can see excess charges rack up quickly.
If you want to avoid overcharging, then read your gas and electricity meters regularly and contact your energy supplier to tell them your meter readings. Also, check that you are getting the best value-for-money by comparing the market and selecting the service that is right for you. You can switch boiler breakdown cover providers without simultaneously switching energy suppliers, so take some time to tailor your payments so they are as low as possible.
Many energy companies refund customers who are in credit, but not all do, and it can take a long time for these refunds to appear in customer’s bank accounts. It is better to have any overpayments in your bank account than in your energy company’s bank account – if you think it is worth to have the energy company holding the cash as a buffer, bear in mind you could accumulate interest on the money if it was in your bank account, or could use it to pay off other creditors and avoid any nasty charges.
Don’t pay your energy company unnecessarily by using their overpriced boiler breakdown cover or their home emergency cover when you could receive cheaper rates, faster repairs and a better service all-round from 247 Home Rescue!