Energy watchdog Ofgem to limit back billing to 12 months


New rule will come into effect in May for domestic consumers

Ofgem is to formally ban Britain’s gas and electricity suppliers from issuing customers with for energy used more than 12 months ago, the regulator announced today.

Aimed at capping bills, the energy regulator has banned all suppliers from back-billing, where the consumer has provided meter readings and acted in good faith. The typical back bill is 1,160 pounds, Ofgem added.

The new rule will come into effect in May for domestic consumers, and in November for microbusinesses.

Rob Salter-Church, Ofgem’s interim senior partner for consumers and competition, told media: “Getting billing right is an essential part of customer service, and it’s unfair that consumers should be left out of pocket when through no fault of their own they’re issued with a shock bill from their supplier.”

Suppliers would still be able to recoup money past 12 months if customers behaviour has been unreasonable, such as blocking access for meter readings, Ofgem said.

Britain’s big six energy suppliers are Centrica’s British Gas, SSE, E.ON, EDF Energy, Innogy’s Npower and Iberdrola’s Scottish Power.