You Could Be Owed £886!

Utility Bills

You Could Be Owed £886!

In a time when people are already struggling to pay their bills, it has been revealed that consumers have been overcharged a shocking £24bn on their utility bills according to new research from Citizens Advice. This equates to £886 per household.

Citizens Advice claim that ‘mistakes, errors in judgement and poor forecasts’ have led the regulators to put wrong values into their financial models. This, in turn, has led to your utility suppliers able to overcharge, whilst staying within the regulated amounts. And worse still, the charity reckons industry regulators’ – Ofcom for telecoms, Ofgem for energy, and Ofwat for water – have made these mistakes going back up to 15 years.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Regulator error has meant customers have been charged too much by energy, broadband and phone networks for far too long.
“At a time when so many people are struggling to pay their essential bills, regulators need to do more to protect customers from unfair prices.
“They have started to take steps in the right direction but it is vital they continue to learn from their past mistakes when finalising their next price controls.
“Companies need to play their part in putting this multi-billion pound blunder right.
“They must compensate customers where they have been paying over the odds. If they don’t, Government needs to intervene.”

Compensation?

The charity is calling for the companies to offer their clients a rebate on their bills as well as ensuring this can’t happen. If people are not refunded, Citizens Advice are determined to call on the government to get involved.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Companies need to play their part in putting this multi-billion pound blunder right.

“They must compensate customers where they have been paying over the odds. If they don’t, Government needs to intervene.”

But it seems companies won’t be forthcoming with refunds – Ofcom, Ofgem, and Ofwat say it’ll be down to firms themselves to decide whether refunds are due.

What They Said…

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “Our decisions have helped customers benefit from more choice and better services.

“That involves making complex forecasts on the cost of finance, which Citizens Advice has found to be largely accurate. We’ll continue to encourage investment in broadband, while protecting customers from high charges.”

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: “Our decisions have helped customers benefit from more choice and better services.

“That involves making complex forecasts on the cost of finance, which Citizens Advice has found to be largely accurate. We’ll continue to encourage investment in broadband, while protecting customers from high charges.”

On energy, an Ofgem spokesperson said: “While we do not agree with Citizens Advice’s estimate of excess profits, we welcome its report and recommendations.

“We will continue to work closely with them and wider stakeholders to apply lessons learnt from previous price controls for the next price control period.”

Meanwhile, Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher added: “We welcome the recommendations from Citizens Advice and the work it and other consumer bodies do to highlight important issues around the affordability of essential services.

“We have already made changes to the way we set the cost of capital through our price review, so customers will not lose out.

“Our early view on the cost of capital for 2020 onwards is the lowest so far, and together with other measures would reduce customers’ bills by £15 to £25 (before inflation).”

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