1. Your energy prices have gone up

Increase your Direct Debit now to get ahead of energy price rises

If the price you pay for energy is increasing, don't wait for your next Direct Debit review to adjust your monthly payments. Increasing your Direct Debit yourself will reduce the risk of building up debts and having to pay more in the future. Most customers will need to increase their monthly payments by at least 25% to stay on track and spread costs evenly through the year.

Get help if you're struggling to pay your electricity or gas bill

The following guide should help explain why your Direct Debit payments might have gone up.

To see how we worked out your new monthly amount, go to My Direct Debit in MyAccount – and look for 'Past reviews'.

1. Your energy prices have gone up

Your energy costs for the year will go up when your prices rise. To keep you on track to pay for these higher costs, we have to increase your monthly payments.

But they don't change straight away. We only change your monthly payments after a Direct Debit review (which happen twice a year).

This means that your payments might go up by more than you expect. Your old payment amount won't have been covering the price rise, so your new payments have to go up by more to get you back on track.

We review your account at the end of your Direct Debit year to check you've paid the right amount. If we find you've paid a bit too much, or not enough, we roll your credit or debit into your future monthly payments. At this point, if you have £150 credit or more – and we have an up-to-date meter reading – you get an automatic refund.

The new price guarantee will take effect from 1 October. This means whilst the price guarantee is in place, a typical customer on a standard (Variable) tariff will see their energy price increase by at least 25%. Customers will still receive the £400 discount provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme

Many people are now taking steps to cut their energy use. Get energy-saving tips that can help you keep your energy bills down.

2. You're using more energy

There are many reasons why you might be using more energy: maybe someone new has moved in; you've started working from home; it's been extra cold outside; you have new electrical appliances.

We'll look at your latest energy use at each Direct Debit review, which happen twice a year. If you're using more energy, your energy costs for the year will increase.

This is why we've put up your payment amount. It's how we keep you on track to pay for your energy costs for the year.

The new price guarantee will take effect from 1 October. This means whilst the price guarantee is in place, a customer on a standard (Variable) tariff with typical usage will have their energy costs held at £2,500.  This is based on Ofgem typical use figures of 2,900kWh electricity, 12,000kWh gas or 4,200kWh for E7.

The Energy Price Guarantee limits the charges per unit of gas or electricity; however, your exact bill will still reflect how much energy you use (this means you may pay more or less than £2,500). The £2,500 is based on typical consumption however your home's energy usage will depend on other factors like the size of your home, its energy efficiency and how much gas and electricity you use will affect what you personally pay. Customers will still receive the £400 discount provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. With this extra support, the average bill will be £2,100.

Visit our update on the government's new energy plan to find the latest information and what this may mean for our customers. The government have published their factsheet on their website you can access it here.

 

3. There wasn't enough credit on your account – or there was too much debit

It's normal to see credit and debit on your account when you pay by Budget Direct Debit (regular monthly payments). It's how you spread your energy costs evenly over the year, even though you use more energy in winter and less in summer.

Half-way through your Direct Debit year, we'll check in on your latest energy use and see what debit, credit and charges are on your account. If you're not on track to cover your energy use, we'll put your payments up.

We review your account again at the end of your Direct Debit year to check you've paid the right amount. In most cases, we roll any credit or debit into your future monthly payments. But if you have £150 credit or more – and we have an up-to-date meter reading – you get an automatic refund.

 

4. We used estimated readings at your last check-in

Did you give us a meter reading just before your latest Direct Debit review? That's great, it helps us set your Direct Debit payments more accurately.

How about the reviews before that? Did we get your meter readings, or did we use an estimate?

If we used an estimate, that could explain why your new Direct Debt payment has gone up. If you've been using more energy than expected for a while, you need to pay more now to catch up.

We review your Direct Debit twice a year to keep your payments on track. Your meter readings help us make sure you pay the right amount.

I have a smart meter – why was my meter reading estimated?

5. We've used the wrong meter reading

Think you might have given us the wrong meter reading; or that we've used the wrong reading?

Find out by looking at the meter reading shown on your bill. Then look at today's meter reading.

If there's a big difference, we might have used the wrong reading to work out your latest Direct Debit payment amount – which could be why it's so high.

What you can do about it:

  • Wait until it's time for your next Direct Debit review: we'll get another meter reading from you then, which should get your payments back on track
  • Get in touch and ask your adviser to do a 'manual review'; they'll ask you for your latest meter reading and reset your monthly payments

6. Your meter's not working

Meters are usually very reliable, but on very rare occasions they can go wrong. If you think your meter is faulty please get in touch and let us know what the problem is.

But it's a good idea to check if your payments have gone up for one of these more commons reasons:

  • Your energy prices have gone up
  • You're using more energy
  • We used estimated readings at your last check-in
  • There wasn't enough credit on your account
  • The debit on your account was too high
  • Your payments didn't cover your energy costs for the year
  • We've used the wrong meter reading

I’m not happy with my energy prices. What can I do?

There are lots of reasons for the energy price rises. By far the most significant is the global gas crisis, which has been triggered by rising demand and restricted gas imports from countries like Russia. This has driven up gas and electricity prices in countries all over the world, including in Britain. 

The bill increases we are seeing here are a consequence of this global trend. Ofgem sets the price cap to reflect the cost of buying energy, and our own variable tariffs are priced to be competitive, reflecting what it costs to supply our customers the energy they use

We continue to work with the government to find viable solutions for those customers most in need this winter. 

A complaint about energy prices is not a legitimate reason to withhold payment. However, if you’re having difficulties paying, please let us know so we can talk through the ways we can help you.

What actions you can take?

  • Our Standard (Variable) tariff remains our cheapest price at this time, and you don't need to do anything to keep these prices
  • Direct Debit is the cheapest way to pay your energy bills

 Check your tariff and payment method to make sure you’re on the best energy plan for you.

If you’re struggling to pay, please don’t cancel your Direct Debit or stop paying

We’re here to help you, find out all the support that is available.

 

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