What is ‘backbilling’?
A backbill is a ‘catch-up’ bill sent to you by your gas or electricity supplier when you haven’t been correctly charged for your energy use. Backbills can be for any amount, but we have put in place rules which define when your supplier can charge you, and to prevent backbilling beyond 12 months.
What are the backbilling rules and when do they apply?
Put simply, a supplier can’t seek additional payment for unbilled energy used more than 12 months prior to the error being detected and a corrected bill being issued.
The protection may not apply if you have behaved obstructively or unreasonably which prevents your supplier from accurately billing you. For example, by physically blocking more than one reasonable attempt by the supplier to take a meter reading at your property or if you have stolen gas or electricity.
To help your supplier give you accurate bills, we recommend that you provide regular meter readings to them, and tell them when you are moving in or out of a property. But we don’t expect that not responding to a request for meter details or readings from your supplier means you are behaving obstructively or unreasonably.
How you’re protected
Your supplier can’t ask to be paid for unbilled energy used more than 12 months ago, if you haven’t been accurately charged for this usage before. Suppliers must make these protections clear in their terms and conditions.
Our backbilling rules apply to both domestic and microbusiness customers. The protection for microbusiness consumers will come into force in November 2018.
If you think your supplier isn't applying the backbilling rules
If you think your supplier should have applied the backbilling rules and they haven’t, you should first tell them and follow their complaints process. All suppliers must have a complaints handling procedure. Find out more on the process at Complain about your gas or electricity bill or supplier.
The Citizens Advice consumer helpline can offer help and advice on energy issues if you’re having problems.