15:01 PM, 16th August 2011, About 10 years ago 8
Around 2 million consumers are not paying for gas and electricity due to mix ups over the suppliers.
The main culprits are tenants and home owners who move on without settling their final bills – leaving the new occupants with no clue about who their utility suppliers are.
Two-thirds of consumers are not paying for gas and electricity because the supplier does not recognise them as a customer, even if they have tried to open an account.
Many consumers have not bothered to try to track down their supplier until they receive a bill for up to a year’s worth of supplies and standing orders they have not used.
These ‘ghost’ consumers are adding £125 a year to the annual bills of honest consumers.
Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com, the firm that uncovered the problem said: “Over 2 million customers have slipped through the energy net and are not paying for gas or electricity. Whether this is deliberate or not, I would advise against remaining invisible to your provider – if caught, you could find yourself facing a hefty bill as a result.
“After a significant period of non-payment, there could also be complications over the amount you owe, especially if you don’t retain proof of your usage or the meter readings from when you moved into the property. A supplier can charge retrospectively for 12 months of energy used but at current prices – this could see still you hit with a bill of as much as £1,390.”
Finding the energy supplier for a property is simple – find the distribution network operator for your region, then contact the company who can tell you the name and contact details of the supplier.
Landlords and letting agents should keep a log of energy supplier, as tenants can change to try to find a cheaper tariff.
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