Check if you’re responsible for paying an energy bill
You usually have to pay for any gas or electricity you’ve used - even if you haven’t signed a contract with an energy supplier.
You shouldn't have to pay for any energy you didn't use. However, there are some situations where a supplier might ask you to pay for somebody else.
If your energy supplier didn’t send you any bills for over a year, you might only have to pay for the energy you’ve used in the last year. Check what your supplier can charge after a year.
If someone else put your name on the bill
If someone signed up to a contract in your name without telling you, you might not have to pay the bill.
You need to tell the supplier that sent the bill as soon as possible. Tell them you didn’t agree to a contract and that you might have been a victim of fraud. If the supplier has made a mistake they should be able to fix it for you.
If you’re a tenant you should check if your landlord has given your name to the supplier and told them you’ve moved in.
If you still think it might be fraud you should tell the police by using the Action Fraud website.
Action Fraud will give you a reference number, which you should keep.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer service to work out if you have to pay the bill.
If you’ve moved house
What you have to pay depends on if the bill is for before you moved in, or after you moved out.
If the bill is for before you moved in
You don’t have to pay for energy that was used before you moved in.
Tell the supplier you moved in after the energy was used. You’ll need to:
tell them when you moved - if they ask for proof, send them a copy of your tenancy agreement or mortgage contract
ask them to send you a new bill
give them a meter reading to make sure the new bill is right
If the bill is for after you moved out
If someone else moved in after you, you shouldn’t have to pay for energy they used after they moved in.
If the bill is for after they moved in, tell the supplier. Tell them the date the other person moved in, if you know it. Ask the supplier to send a new bill to the person who lives there now.
If the other person didn’t move in straight away, you might still have to pay for some of the energy before they moved in.
If no one else moved in straight away
You usually need to pay for energy until 2 days after you told the supplier you were moving.
If you contacted the supplier the day before you moved, or after you moved out, you might have to pay for some energy after you moved.
If the bill is charging you for more than 2 days after you told the supplier, contact them. Tell them the date you told them you were moving. Ask them to explain why they’ve charged you for more than 2 days after that date.
If the supplier still says you have to pay the bill, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service to check if you have to pay it.
If you have to pay the bill
If you’ll struggle to pay, the supplier has to help you find a solution - find out how to talk to your supplier if you’re struggling to pay the bill.
If you think the bill is for the wrong meter
You can check if your meter is the same as the meter on the bill.
Check your gas meter
You can find out if the gas meter on your bill is correct by comparing the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) on your bill with the MPRN registered to your address. The MPRN is a unique registration number for your meter.
If the MPRNs don’t match you should contact your gas supplier.
If the MPRNs match but you’re still worried the bill is wrong, you can compare readings. Check the reading on your meter and compare it with the reading on the bill. If there’s a big difference you should contact your supplier.
Check your electricity meter
You can find out if the electricity meter on your bill is correct by comparing the Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) on your bill with the MPAN registered to your address. The MPAN is a unique registration number for your meter.
First, you need to find who your electricity network operator is. This is different from your electricity supplier. Find your electricity network operator on the Power Cut 105 website.
When you've found your electricity network, use the ‘Find my supplier’ service on their website. It will also tell you the MPAN for your address.
If your network operator is:
National Grid - check your supplier on the National Grid website
Scottish and Southern Electricity Network - check your supplier on the Scottish and Southern Electricity Network website
Northern Powergrid - check your supplier on the Northern Powergrid website
Electricity North West - check your supplier on the Electricity North West website
SP Energy Networks - check your supplier on the SP Energy Network website
UK Power Networks - check your supplier on the UK Power Networks website
If the MPANs don’t match you should contact your electricity supplier.
If the MPANs match but you’re still worried the bill is wrong, you can compare readings. Check the reading on your meter and compare it with the reading on the bill. If there’s a big difference you should contact your supplier.
If you pay your landlord for energy
You don’t have to pay the energy supplier as well.
Tell the supplier you’re not responsible for paying the bill. They should send the bill to your landlord instead.
If you’re not sure whether your rent covers energy bills, check your tenancy agreement. If you don’t have a copy of the tenancy agreement, ask your landlord for a copy.
If you can't agree with your landlord about who pays the bills, you can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service.
If you think your landlord is overcharging you for energy
If you’re worried that you’re being asked for too much money, check what your landlord can charge you for energy.
If someone won’t pay their share
You’ll usually have to pay the whole bill and try to get the money back from them afterwards.
If you’ll struggle to pay the bill, your supplier has to help you find a solution - find out how to talk to your supplier if you’re struggling to pay the bill.
If the other person won’t pay their share, you could take legal action against them - called ’making a small claim’. Legal action can be expensive and stressful, so you should decide if it’s worth making a small claim before you start.
Page last reviewed on 28 November 2023