Energy regulator Ofgem has said that Eigtheen suppliers have overcharged a total of over one million customers whilst they were in the process of switching supplier.
Rules designed to protect customers say that if a customer has decided to switch to another supplier, then during that process their existing supplier cannot hike the price. That makes sense, you wouldn’t want to tell a supplier that you have decided to switch, and then have them suddenly increase your bills by 1000% until you’ve left.
However, it appears that eighteen well-known suppliers have upped the price on users who were in the process of switching, overcharging a total of £7.2m.
The worst offender was OVO Energy, followed by Shell, Scottish Power, Britsh Gas and SSE, some of the biggest names in the industry.
The switch protection doesn’t just apply if you are swapping suppliers, it also covers you if you are switching tariffs with the same supplier. So you may have contacted your energy supplier to swap to a cheaper tariff, but that tariff might not take effect until your next bill (which of course could be quarterly). During that period you should be protected from increases, but appears some companies haven’t been doing that.
Some of the suppliers involved did self report themselves to Ofgem when they discovered their errors, however Ofgem said that many of these companies do not have adequate arrangements in place to prevent overcharging.
All suppliers will be refunding any customers impacted by this, so if you have changed supplier between 2013 and 2020 then you could be set for a bit of a refund.