Back-billing may be applied on an invoice where there are charges that are older than 12 months. Back-bills can be for any amount but there are industry rules in place defining when and for how far back your supplier can charge you.
The Back-Billing Code
Since 2007 domestic energy suppliers have stopped back-billing customers for energy used more than 12 months ago, if the supplier was at fault for not having sent a bill to the customer.
When does the Back-Billing code apply to me?
Each case is looked at individually but here are some common scenarios where the back-billing code might apply:
- We have failed to bill you within 12 months (and you have requested bills from us).
- We have billed you using estimated meter readings instead of valid readings provided by you or a meter reader.
- We have billed you incorrectly due to billing errors, and failed to act upon information available to put this right.
- We have failed to do anything about an issue or complaint you have raised regarding your account or meter and subsequently allowed a large debt to build up on your account.
- We have failed to reassess your Direct Debit within 12 months, or failed to reassess based on a reasonable estimate.
When does the Back-Billing code not apply to me?
The back-billing principle may not apply, if:
- You have been using the gas or electricity supply, but you’ve made no attempt to contact the supplier to arrange payment. This includes moving into a property and not letting the supplier know that you are the new tenant or homeowner.
- You have wilfully avoided payment.
- You haven’t co-operated with the supplier’s attempts to obtain meter readings, or resolve queries. This includes failing to allow access to the property, or failing to respond to requests for meter details or meter readings.
The back-billing principle is not intended as a means to avoid payments, as you should pay for the energy you’ve used. If there are billing problems, you should pay a reasonable estimate of your usage. Once an accurate bill is produced, suppliers will use your payments or credit for any extra charges or allowances.