I moved into my new home late last year and set up my new electricity supply through SSE, the same supplier as the previous owner. I opted for a two-year fixed price package and have a confirmation email.
I even had a phone call from them at the time to confirm I want to go ahead, which I assumed it was because not many people were fixing for two years at the time due to soaring prices.
Since then, I have heard nothing from them. No emails, no calls, no meter readings – and no bills.
I have tried to log into my account and it says it does not recognise my log in details, even though that is how I set up my account originally.
It’s the responsibility of the customer to ensure they are paying for the energy their are consuming in line with their contract, even if you don’t receive an energy bill
On the one hand I am happy I have not had to pay for my electricity since moving house, but on the other I am concerned about a big bill coming my way.
Now, I have not been silly and I have kept money aside for the day the bill lands, but I would like to know my options here. Should I stay quiet until they notice?
Will I be able to pay the backdated bill in installments without interest? Is it true they can only charge me for the last 18 months? Will the energy price per unit will be the same whether billed on day 1 or day 730, or am I in for some financial trouble?
Or should I just call them up now and say I think they may have an issue with their system and they should start taking my money? D.W, via email.
Emilia Shovelin for This is Money replied: When you moved house you were happy to use the property’s existing energy supplier, hoping it would save you some hassle.
You took out a two-year fixed contract, happy with how much you were being charged, and relaxed into your new home.
But after a few months of not receiving bills, you grew concerned that you would need to pay this money back, so you did the right thing moving the money you should have paid towards your energy bills into a separate account.
What should I do if I didn’t receive a bill?
If you haven’t received an energy bill, it can be tempting to let it slide and not pay for your usage.
But, this could land you in hot water in the future, potentially leaving you paying back thousands in one go.
If you haven’t heard from your energy supplier, you should get in touch via their customer service team to see if there are any issues.
It could be as simple as an incorrect email address, or an error on their end.
If, despite contacting your supplier repeatedly, they haven’t sent you a bill, they won’t be able to back-bill you for more than 12 months.
If you can’t afford to pay the amount owed, it’s important that you let your supplier know, as most providers will offer you a repayment plan.
When you signed up to SSE, you agreed to a contract where you pay a certain amount per month towards your energy use, so regardless of whether you received a bill, it is your responsibility to ensure it is paid.
But, with rising energy prices, it’s understandable why you didn’t reach out to your energy firm to offer up the money.
Energy firms have the right to back-bill customers who do not pay their energy bills, so it’s good that you kept this money aside.
The good news for you is that you can’t be charged for gas or electricity used more than 12 months ago if you have not been correctly billed, or informed about it via a statement of account, before.
This means that you will only need to pay back the bills you owe from the last 12 months, saving you a little of the cash you had squirreled away.
When I contacted SSE, taken over by Ovo Energy, they also confirmed that the back billing process would take into account the tariff you are on. In addition, the firm does not charge interest on outstanding balances in customers’ accounts.
They also said they would be able to discuss a repayment plan with you, and would make adjustments to bring the account up to date before discussing payment options, including the possibility of an extended payment plan.
However, it’s worth knowing that the back-billing rules depend on the circumstances around why you had not received a bill.
Ofgem says the rules around back-billing may not apply if a customer is found to have behaved obstructively or unreasonably when it comes to their bills.
This includes preventing accurate billing, which includes blocking meter readings, or stealing gas or electricity.
An Ovo Energy spokesperson said: ‘We encourage anyone who is worried that they won’t be able to pay their energy bill to get in touch and know that we’ve supported lots of people in similar situations and we can support them too.
‘There are different options, such as setting up a payment plan which spreads the cost of energy.
‘Our dedicated team can also make sure customers receive any financial assistance from the Government that they’re eligible for – and explain available payment support schemes.’