If you’ve glanced at the news recently, it’s hard not to worry about energy bills and firms going bust. There are still unknowns, such as what will happen with future energy prices.
The good news for now is both the regulator Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman have plans in place for people affected if their energy supplier has stopped trading. Here we run through common questions, including what happens to your complaint if you’ve already escalated it to the Ombudsman, what are your next steps if you’re disputing your energy bill and what you can do if you don’t want to stay with the new supplier you’ve been given.
What happens if you’ve escalated your complaint about a business that’s gone bust to the Energy Ombudsman?
If you’ve made a complaint to your energy supplier and it’s no longer trading then in the main your complaint will end at this point and you are usually not able to pursue it. This will also apply if that complaint has already been escalated to the Energy Ombudsman – either through Resolver or directly.
However, there may be some instances where your new energy supplier can look at your complaint, and if necessary, you would still be able to escalate this case to the Energy Ombudsman. This typically applies to complaints concerning disputes over your energy bill.
The Energy Ombudsman has stated that “for those who’ve registered disputes with our service, we’ll provide an update as soon as Ofgem appoints a Supplier of Last Resort and there is clarity around whether or not the new supplier will be in a position to help with your case”.
What happens if you are disputing your bill with your old energy provider?
It’s likely that complaints about disputed bills can be taken up by your new energy supplier, because your new supplier will be the one chasing you for any outstanding money owed.
If you feel you’ve been billed incorrectly, back billed (where the firm chases you for a debt that is more than 12 months old) or there is a dispute over things such as faulty meters, then the new energy company can potentially help.
It’s unclear yet if these disputes will be ‘passed on’ so Resolver recommends making a new formal complaint to your new energy provider directly.
If you’ve previously made your complaint through Resolver to your old supplier before it ceased trading, you’ll need to set up a new case to your new supplier, but you can copy your complaint content from the previous case and apply it to the new one. The same goes for complaints escalated through Resolver to the Energy Ombudsman.
What happens if you are owed money from a credit balance with your old energy supplier?
Ofgem states that credit balances go over to your new supplier, where you can decide whether to use them towards your future bills or ask for a refund. Given that energy bills are likely to increase, you may wish to go for the first option.
If your credit balance isn’t showing on the new account, raise a complaint to your new energy supplier.
What happens if you’ve been switched and you don’t want to stay with your new energy provider?
If you’re unhappy with the energy provider you’ve been switched to automatically after your old supplier has ceased trading, then you don’t have to stay with them.
However, switching to another business might be tricky right now and most consumer experts agree that now is not a good time to switch. So hold fire if you can and keep an eye on news updates.
This is because most comparison sites have turned off their energy switching options. The comparison sites are waiting to see which smaller businesses stay in business and how much bills go up by with the remaining providers.
How much will my bill go up by?
There have been a lot of horror stories over the last few weeks about energy price increases. For a number of households energy prices will go up now as the latest energy price cap kicked in at the start of the month.
This is the ‘cap’ on the price that suppliers can charge you. The price cap is reviewed twice a year and the next announcement will be in February 2022. If you are struggling to pay your bills or are worried about not being able to afford them, our recent guide on energy price rises explains your options.