'Am I being overcharged for gas and electricity'?

Citizens Advice can help you save on your energy bills

Citizens Advice can help you save on your energy bills. - Credit: ARCHANT

"My energy bill really shot up last month. I don’t feel like I’ve been using any more heating or electricity than usual, so I’m worried I’m being overcharged. I’ve tried to contact my energy supplier for support, but no one ever seems to answer the phone or respond to my emails. I’ve waited on hold for nearly an hour several times before giving up. What should I do?"

The above is typical of the concerns being received by Citizens' Advice Rural Cambs right now.

It’s normal for your energy bills to change depending on the time of year and how much gas and electricity you’re using. But if your bills seem strangely high, then it’s important to investigate why.

There are a few things you can check to see if you can reduce your energy costs · Compare gas and electricity prices - Citizens Advice Energy Comparison offers a free tool to let you know the cheapest suppliers.

There are also other comparison websites on the market which are worth looking at as they offer a complete switching process free of charge. You’ll need the name of your supplier and tariff - this will be on your energy bill.

Check your meter is working properly and your usage has definitely not gone up, even accidently. Also check what heaters you have and whether you’re using them correctly. Night storage radiators and immersion heaters in particular can cause very high bills if used incorrectly.

Also, check your energy bill to see if it is an estimate, in which case you need to give your supplier a new meter reading. If it’s not an estimate, check your last meter reading to see if it matches the one on your bill. 

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Customer service varies between suppliers and unfortunately we hear of many bad experiences. We also know the problem has worsened during the pandemic. If you’re struggling to get through to them, you could make a formal complaint. We offer advice on how to do this and things to consider first.

We publish a comparison table every three months which rates suppliers’ customer service, based on things like telephone wait time, email response time and the accuracy of their bills. Have a look for yours to see how they fare against others. If they’re low on the list, consider switching to a different one.

INFO: Citizens Advice Rural Cambs on: 0808 278 7807 or:  www.citizensadviceruralcambs.org.uk for support or contact the consumer helpline on: 0808 223 1133. Also: energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk.