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If you haven’t received an energy bill in a while

This advice applies to Scotland

If you haven’t received a gas or electricity bill for over a year, you might not have to pay for all the energy you’ve used.

Under the ‘back billing code’, your supplier can only charge you for a maximum of 12 months of energy use if they haven’t sent you a bill for over 1 year.

For this to apply you must have:

  • already contacted your supplier and asked for a bill to be sent
  • co-operated with any requests from your supplier, eg letting them visit your home to read your meter

Example

You haven't received an electricity bill in 2 years. You call your supplier and ask them to send you a bill. You give them an up-to-date meter reading. They eventually send you a bill, charging you for 2 years of energy use. You write them a letter stating that you're aware of the back billing code and that you should only have to pay for 1 year of use. Your supplier sends you a new bill, only charging you for 1 year.

If your supplier tries to overcharge you

If your supplier tries to charge you for more than 12 months’ energy use, you should write to them.Tell them that you’re protected by the code of practice on back billing and should only be charged for 1 year of usage.

You can use our 'back billing example letter' to help you.

If your supplier still tries to charge you the full amount, you should make a complaint.

If you can’t afford to pay

If you’re sent a bill but you can’t afford to pay it, you can ask your supplier for a payment plan that allows you to repay any debt over the same length of time that the debt has built up. For example, if you've not had a bill from your supplier for 8 months, you should be able to spread the repayments over 8 months.

There are other things you can do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills.

Further help

If you're having issues with your energy bills or supplier, you can get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

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