What is back billing?
A back bill is a catch-up bill sent by a gas or electricity supplier when you have not been correctly charged for your energy use.
We've put in place 'back billing' rules that mean:
- You cannot be charged for gas or electricity used more than 12 months ago if you have not been correctly billed by a supplier.
- Suppliers must make these terms clear in their terms and conditions.
The rules apply to household and microbusiness energy customers.
They may not apply if you have behaved obstructively or unreasonably, preventing accurate billing. This could include:
- blocking meter readings at your property on more than one occasion
- stealing gas or electricity.
If you haven't had an energy bill in over a year
If your supplier sends you a bill for more than a year's energy use, contact them.
Explain that you understand you are protected by the back billing rules and should only be charged for up to 12 months' energy use if you haven’t received an accurate bill for over a year.
To help, use this Citizens Advice back billing example letter.
If they continue to ask for the full amount, you should make a complaint. Follow the steps in our guide: Complain about your gas or electricity bill or supplier.
To help your supplier send you accurate bills, try to:
- provide regular meter readings
- tell them when you are moving in or out of a property.
If you can't pay a back bill
If you think you can’t afford to pay for the energy used, ask your supplier about repayment plan options. Your supplier must take into account how much you can afford, and will explain your options.
Citizens Advice can also help if you can't agree a payment plan with your supplier or if you're not happy with the options they've given to you.
Visit the Citizens Advice website, or call:
- 0808 223 1133 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
- Textphone: 18001 0808 223 1133
- For a Welsh-speaking adviser: 0808 223 1144
- Textphone for a Welsh-speaking adviser: 18001 0808 223 1144
View more advice on Who to contact if it's difficult paying energy bills