Energy back billing

Back billing principle

If your energy supplier is at fault, it will not seek additional payment for previously unbilled energy used more than 12 months prior to the error being detected and a corrected bill being issued.

FAQs about energy back billing

What is back billing?

A back bill is a ‘catch-up’ bill sent to you by your gas or electricity supplier when you haven’t been correctly charged for your energy use. Back bills can be for any amount but there is a principle in place defining when and for how far back your supplier can charge you. Since 2007, Ofgem has directed that all domestic energy suppliers stop back-billing customers for previously unbilled 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 principle apply?

Each case of back billing is looked at entirely on its own merits and individual set of circumstances. The principle is not intended as a means for not paying and so may not apply if you:

  • have been using the gas or electricity supply and have made no effort to make payment - this includes moving into a new property and not letting the supplier know that you are the new homeowner or tenant
  • have avoided paying
  • have not allowed meter readings to be taken or have failed to provide them
Is there anything I can do to avoid back billing?

It is difficult to take steps to avoid back billing, as often the issue is only known to you once the back billing occurs. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure accurate billing. For example:

  • Ensure the meter serial number on the bill matches what is on the meter
  • Check estimated readings against actual readings from the meter
  • Check bills/invoices and raise questions to the supplier if there is anything you are unsure about
What if my supplier isn’t applying the back billing principle?

If your supplier has said the back billing principle doesn’t apply and you are unhappy with their decision, the next step is to contact your supplier and follow their complaints process. If you are not satisfied with the supplier’s effort to resolve your compliant within eight weeks, you can ask Ombudsman Services: Energy to investigate.