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Ofgem backbilling decision ensures “better protections” for energy customers, says Citizens Advice

5 March 2018

Citizens Advice has responded to Ofgem’s decision to ban energy suppliers from backbilling customers for energy used more than 12 months ago.

Victoria MacGregor, Director of Energy at Citizens Advice, said:

“We have long called for the changes announced today. The new rules will deliver better protections for households and small businesses across the country. No-one should face a massive unforseen bill that goes back years when it’s their supplier that’s at fault.

“Previously we’ve seen evidence of suppliers trying to game the rules by blaming customers for billing errors, cases where suppliers have ignored their commitments entirely, and small businesses receiving unexpected bills running to tens of thousands of pounds.

“However, we still believe that for smart meters the rules need to go further - and that in time, the practice of backbilling should end completely. Energy customers have a right to expect accurate bills.

“Suppliers have not met their voluntary commitment to limit backbills for smart meter users to 6 months. They should honour their commitment to smart meter users and implement this change now.”

Notes to editors

  1. The following rules announced today by Ofgem will be written into supplier license conditions: all consumers will be protected from being billed for energy used more than a year ago, regardless of who their supplier is; suppliers will have to show that customers have acted unreasonably in order to bill for longer than this (for example, if they refused to allow their meter to be read); microbusinesses will have the same protection as domestic customers.
  2. Citizens Advice’s response to Ofgem’s open letter on backbilling can be found here.
  3. Citizens Advice has a statutory role as the consumer advocate for energy consumers, to represent consumers across the energy industry
  4. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  5. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit
  7. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  8. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  9. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.