New Consumer protection from back-billing (April 2018)
Consumer protection in relation to energy bills has been significantly increased this week due to new rules introduced by energy regulator Ofgem. Here’s what you need to know:
1 Back billing code
The big six energy providers previously signed up to a ‘voluntary’ scheme called the ‘Back Billing Code’. Under this scheme it was agreed that subscribing providers would not back bill their customers beyond 12 months.
2 The problem
Despite the Back-Billing Code, most of the energy providers that said they would follow it, have not. This has meant that many consumers have been faced with huge historical bills, which we have seen have ranged from typically £1160 but up to as much as £10,000 in some cases. On the basis that the Back-Billing Code was not a legal requirement placed upon the energy providers, those that have fallen victim of back-billing have found themselves powerless in resolving the matter.
3 The new regime
On 1st May 2018 Ofgem imposed new rules in relation to back-billing and these new rules are binding on all energy providers. Under the new rules, providers are now prohibited from billing you for energy consumed more than 12 months ago, unless the reason for the late bill is your fault. For example, if you have prevented your energy supplier from taking a meter reading or have been involved in fraudulent/wrongful activities which caused your supplier to deliver a bill late, it will clearly be your fault. In these circumstances, you will have to pay the bill.