‘I took on British Gas and won’ – woman gets refund for energy she hadn’t used. 'Be tough'

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More than 30 energy suppliers have gone bust in recent months, forcing more than four million households to move supplier. Many fear they have been overcharged in the switchover, and need to check their energy bills carefully to be sure.

Those who believe they have paid too much should stand their ground and fight their case, says Sandra Wrench, 70.

She had to battle hard to get a refund from British Gas, after her supplier People’s Energy ceased trading on 14 September last year.

After taking a meter reading, Sandra, from Bedford, found British Gas was charging her for energy used before she actually joined them.

Making a complaint was a struggle, though. With so many people affected by the mass energy supplier crash, getting through to British Gas wasn’t easy.

Sandra says: “I phoned every day for a week, but had no reply. There was no internet chat available.”

She didn’t give up, though. “I then went to the complaints section, but couldn’t find an agent there either.”

After she finally got through to the energy giant’s online chat service, British Gas agreed to refund £32.78 for gas and electricity plus standing charges of £10.51.

It added up to £43.29 in total. “That may not seem a lot, but I live alone in a two-bedroom house, so a family living in a larger home could secure a much bigger refund.”

Now Sandra is urging other people to check if they are owed money: “It is imperative that everyone who has switched checks their energy bills for charges prior to switching, and does not just accept what energy companies say.”

If unhappy, a good step is to raise a formal complaint either directly with your new supplier or via the free tool on website resolver.co.uk. 

If that doesn’t work, contact the Energy Ombudsman at ombudsman-services.org/complain-now, Sandra urges.

READ MORE: Man shocked after receiving false energy bill over £15,000

Sandra is not giving up her fight for energy bill fairness.

Now she is questioning British Gas about the difference between the increase in the energy cap on April 1, and what she is seeing on her bill.

Ofgem’s energy cap jumped by 54 percent to £1,971 a year but she says: “I pay monthly and British Gas has increased my gas tariff by 90 percent.”

Some households may relax about their energy bills over the summer, but they need to be ready for autumn, she insists.

“The energy cap will rise again from October 1, possibly by as much as 40 percent, just as the weather turns colder.”

Sandra says that whether you have a smart meter or not, keep a clerical record of your meter readings at the end of each month, which makes it easier to complain to your energy company if you have any issues.

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She says: “There is a lot of doom and gloom in the media about energy bill increases, but it helps if there are cases where people take on these energy companies and win.”

A spokesperson for British Gas urged customers to get in touch if they have any concerns about their bills.

“As a responsible business, in the last six months we’ve stepped in to take over the energy supply of more than 700,000 customers from eight different failed suppliers.

“This is the largest proportion across the industry.

“Unfortunately, each of these suppliers has its own process in terms of how they share data, including around credit balances and we are reliant on their processes.”



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