Check if you're owed money on your energy bill

You can claim-back credit you think an energy supplier owes at any time. This guide shows ways a credit balance could build up. It also explains how to claim it back and when refunds should be automatic.  

1. When you build up credit

A credit can happen for many reasons. It means you’ve paid more than your usage to a supplier – so they owe you money. 

Credit on a live account

A live account is one you have with your current supplier. You could build up credit by:

  • using less energy than you pay for. For example, your supplier could overestimate your bills if they don’t have regular, accurate meter readings. 
  • paying a fixed amount by direct debit, even though your energy use changes. In summer for example. We would expect this credit to reduce when you use more energy in winter.
  • suppliers taking payment at different times in a billing period. For example, if a supplier works out your bills from quarterly usage data but you pay a monthly amount. Some suppliers ask for an upfront payment when you start a contract so you keep a credit balance too. 
  • paying by prepayment meter. Your balance is in credit until it is used.

Giving regular meter readings so your bills reflect accurate usage can help prevent a credit build-up. 

Smart meters can help you easily monitor and control what you spend on your energy too.

Credit on a closed account?

There could be credit on a closed account when you’ve:

  • switched supplier or moved house. You could still be with the same supplier.
  • closed the estate of a dead relative and left money unclaimed.

Suppliers must take steps to return money if you have credit on a closed account.

2. When to claim

Credit on a live account

You can ask your supplier to refund you at any time. Suppliers must do so promptly unless they have reasonable grounds not to.

Before claiming a refund, think if:

  • it could be difficult paying your bills without a credit balance
  • your usage or costs could increase in the coming months (such as over winter)

Suppliers typically review accounts every year with actual meter readings. They may then automatically refund credit balances.  

Credit on a closed account

We’ve put in place guaranteed standards to make sure you quickly get final bills and money owed after closing an account.

Suppliers have:

  • six weeks from a switch to automatically send a final bill
  • 10 working days from a final bill to automatically refund a credit balance

If suppliers breach a standard they must compensate you. 

You can also contact them to claim a refund.

3. How to claim

Claim credit on a live account

Contact your supplier.

You’ll find details of your current supplier on a recent energy bill. Or log into your online account if you have paperless billing.

They may ask you for a current meter reading.

If you aren’t happy with their response, make a complaint.

Claim credit on a closed account

Contact your previous supplier. 

Have your old account information ready. An address can also help them find the account if you don’t have any old bills.

The supplier must refund any credit they hold. It doesn’t matter how long ago the account closed. 

Ask for any interest earned on the balance since the account closed. Suppliers don’t have to pay this back but in principle, they should. 

If you aren’t happy with their response, make a complaint.

Help

Compensation on late credit refunds

Our guaranteed standards make sure you quickly get final bills and money owed after closing an account.

If suppliers breach a standard they must compensate you. We monitor supplier data to make sure they do this.

Suppliers have:

  • six weeks from a switch to send a final bill
  • 10 working days from a final bill to refund a credit balance
  • 10 working days from identifying a standards breach to automatically compensate you. They could owe a further £30 if they don’t meet the compensation timeline.

If you think you are due a credit refund or haven’t been compensated for a breached standard, contact the supplier to tell them. If you aren’t happy with their response, make a complaint.

Guaranteed standard

Compensation*

Supplier sends a final bill within six weeks of a switch.

£30 by former supplier

Supplier refunds money owed on a credit balance within 10 working days of sending a final bill.

£30 by former supplier

*Effective from 1 May 2019.

Suppliers may contact you about making a compensation payment. Always ask for further information before giving your personal details. 

You won’t get switching compensation if you are a business energy customer or if your supplier has gone bust.  

Further help

Contact Citizens Advice if you have problems claiming back credit.

  • Telephone 0808 223 1133 or use their online web chat
  • For textphone, dial 18001 followed by the helpline number.