OFGEM issued yesterday a letter to suppliers, outlining their expectations for energy suppliers who are dealing with domestic and micro
business consumers when undertaking charge recovery action (also called backbilling).
The purpose of this letter is to remind relevant energy suppliers of the requirements placed
on them by supply Standard Licence Condition (SLC)
1 21BA (‘SLC21BA’) with respect to
charge recovery action, so they apply the relevant consumer protections consistently and
Based on information we have received from consumer bodies (Citizens Advice, Citizens
Advice Scotland, the Extra Help Unit and the Energy Ombudsman), we are concerned that
suppliers are not correctly and consistently adhering to SLC 21BA, which sets out the
conditions under which suppliers can recover charges for the supply of gas or electricity
(the Backbilling Requirements)
In summary the letter states: Ultimately, it is the responsibility of suppliers to bill consumers correctly for their usage and
to ensure consumer accounts are correctly reconciled. Consumers must not be held
responsible for failing to identify errors in their billing or that a debt balance is accruing.
While we welcome that OFGEM is taking the issue of backbilling customers seriously, we would like see better information of the public of their rights.
As in many other areas, we also believe, that protection of backbilling should be extended to non-micro businesses. Far too many small businesses don’t qualify as micro-business but still don’t have the resources, knowledge and experience to deal with all aspects of their utility bills.