Two million people are not paying for their gas and electricity or have vacated a home without settling their energy bills.
moneysupermarket has discovered that two million consumers are so called “ghosts” customers who have avoided paying for their energy bills or who have left a property without settling up with their energy provider.
Although the majority of these people have tried, unsuccessfully, to find out who their energy supplier is, a small percentage have kept under the radar and not contacted any energy companies at all.
“It is quick and easy to find out your electricity or gas supplier; contact the local distribution network operator (DNO) as it varies by region for your electricity, and for your gas supplier you’ll need the Meter Point Administration Service.
Once you have identified your supplier, it is essential you get onto the best tariff for your needs. With the recent price rises from a number of providers, consumers should be looking to switch to the best fixed priced energy tariff for their usage level and area they live.”, advises Scott Byrom, utilities manager at moneysupermarket.com.
He also recommends that you don’t try and hide from your energy company, because if you are traced as a non payer you can be liable for up to 12 months of energy supply. At current prices this could add up significantly and come as a nasty surprise, particularly if you are already struggling to make ends meet.
The increased number of tenants is creating more “ghost” energy customers as properties change their occupants more regularly and more people fall through the net through administrative mistakes.
This can cause problems for new tenants who may be faced with large bills from previous tenants. If a new energy supplier is chosen then there is also the risk that you could be liable for both energy supplies if the previous energy company discovers a payment shortfall.
MoneyHighStreet Comments: This underlines the need to take and keep records of the gas, electricity and water meter readings when you move into a new property – no matter if you are renting or owning it.
You should verify the meter readings with your letting agent, as well as send them promptly to the utilities company (if you know who they are) to help justify your case if you are later challenged for the non payments of the previous occupants. You should also be looking for ways save energy and reduce your energy bills.