• Tue. May 30th, 2023

I got £400 energy refund thanks to Martin Lewis' tip and slashed my bill by £170 – how you can too | The Sun

May 13, 2023

A MARTIN Lewis fan got a £400 energy refund and managed to slash their bill after following his advice.

It comes after the MoneySavingExpert warned millions of households to check if they're due hundreds of pounds back in unclaimed energy credits on ITV's Good Morning Britain.

Sue, a Martin Lewis fan, wrote to MoneySavingExpert.com to share her success at getting an energy credit refund.

She said: "I wanted to thank Martin for his recent Good Morning Britain segment about energy direct debits.

"I looked at my Ovo Energy app and after an online chat with them, I'm receiving a £400 refund, plus I've been able to reduce my direct debit by £170 for three months.

"Can't tell you how much I needed this right now."

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Martin said on the show last week that now is the perfect time to get your money back.

This is because of the way that monthly direct debits are usually set.

Typically, your energy company will work out the cost of your energy for the year ahead and divide this into 12 equal payments.

However, to smooth things out over the period and avoid high bill shocks in the winter, customers are more likely to build up credit during the warmer summer months.

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In his blog from May 2, Martin Lewis wrote: "Monthly direct debits are based on an estimate of usage, and these estimates can be dire, leaving many unnecessarily overpaying with too much credit or underpaying and getting into energy debt."

So customers who have a high amount of credit right now would be right to query this and ask for a refund, according to the MoneySavingExpert.

On the May 4 edition of Good Morning Britain Martin said: "You should be on £0 worth of credit from January.

"But as you go through the months, you'll start to build up your debt until you get to this week (May 1-7) when you'll start to pay off that debt and move into credit.

"This peaks in November before it starts to go down again. So why is this week important?

"Well, because this is the week in the year where you should have the least amount of credit.

"Exactly how much you'll have depends on when you started with your energy firm – but effectively there's no reason to be in credit right now because this is the lowest point in the cycle."

However, it's important to note that if you started the cycle at a different point you might not take have any energy credits across the 12 months.

But effectively Martin said that there is no reason for anyone to be in credit right now.

We've explained everything you need to know about requesting a credit refund below.

How can I request a credit refund?

First, make sure your energy firm has the most up-to-date meter reading.

If your reading doesn't match the energy use they have down for you, chances are they'll want to update your monthly bills as you may not be paying the right amount anyway.

But if your meter readings are up-to-date and f you've been in credit for more than one month ask your energy firm to return the funds.

Each energy supplier has its own process for customers wishing to get a credit refund.

For example, British Gas rules state that it will always hold a £75 energy credit on live accounts.

The supplier will only refund you if there's £5 or more left over after it's put a £75 credit towards your bill.

Customers can request a refund by logging into their online account.

Ovo Energy customers can request a refund if their credit is at least £25 higher than one month's direct debit.

After submitting a meter reading to your online account customers should head to the payments page and click apply for a refund.

Check with your energy provider to find out how to request your money back.

How can I challenge an unfair energy direct debit?

If you've managed to claim a credit refund but are still concerned that your direct debit is set too high you can challenge it.

Before you dispute your bill it's worth using an energy calculator to work out exactly how much your usage costs on paper.

You also need to be aware of your rights.

If you pay by direct debit, then this monthly amount should be "fair and reasonable".

If you don't think it is, you can complain to the company in the first instance.

If you're not happy with the outcome you can take it to the independent Energy Ombudsman to dispute, but there are a few steps before you get to that stage.

Your supplier must clearly explain why it's chosen that amount for your direct debit.

If you are disputing a bill, taking a meter reading is a must.

That way the company can't rely on estimates, which may lead to you being overcharged – a reading leaves no room for error either, as it shows precisely what you actually used.

If it's lower than your estimate, you can ask your provider to lower your monthly direct debit to a more suitable amount.

Martin Lewis' MoneySavingExpert team says that if you find you're always in credit, you should request the direct debit be lowered to reflect your actual annual usage and meter readings.

But beware that you don’t end up in debt later on with a bigger catch-up bill at the end of the year from underpayments racking up.

If you don't have success in negotiating a lower payment then you can put in a complaint.

You can usually get in touch with your provider by email, letter or telephone, but keep a record of contact that you make so you can reference it later if need be.

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Charities like Citizens Advice have template complaint letters you can use to help with the process.

Meanwhile, free online tools from Resolver.co.uk can also help you track and manage a complaint step-by-step. 

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