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Raising concerns with your Energy Supplier

If you decide on changing your existing provider or your service plan, you’ll be entering into a new contract.

Many people use price comparison websites to find the best deal and compare the savings they can make. They often purchase their chosen product through those websites. Other people buy energy company services through door-to-door salespeople.

You might not be able to transfer your account until you pay any outstanding bills with your current supplier or if you have a debt with them.

Changing your mind

In the event that you sign a contract at home after an uninvited salesperson visits you and the contract exceeds £42, they must provide you with a ‘notice of cancellation’. If the salesperson does not provide you with a ‘notice of cancellation’, the contract may be illegal. Time starts running from the day you sign the contract.

A 14 calendar day cancellation period must be given to you if you sign a contract due to sales literature or contact information you receive through the internet, television, mail, telephone or fax. From the day after you agree to proceed with the contract, this period begins to run. There is no financial penalty for changing your mind during this period, but you must inform the supplier that you wish to cancel the contract.

You won’t be able to cancel a contract if you sign it at the salesperson’s business location. If, however, you signed the contract shortly after the salesperson told you about the service, such as at your home, you will have the right to cancel.

You might have a longer period of time to change your mind with some businesses.

Challenging a contract under the law

You can still challenge a contract if the terms of the contract allow for cancellation after the cancellation deadline (if any) has passed:

  • You are not aware of some terms, or there are onerous (oppressive) aspects of the contract;
  • The terms were outlined in a separate document, which you did not see or which was not attached to the document you signed;
  • According to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and Consumer Rights Act 2015, these terms are either unfair or unreasonable.

See Introduction to your legal rights for more information about your legal rights.

Common problems

You might have a problem with your energy supplier about:

  • Sales
  • Service issues
  • A faulty meter
  • Customer service
  • An incorrect bill
  • An incorrect meter reading
  • Disconnected or interrupted supply
  • The transfer of energy suppliers

High gas bills

The gas supplier may ask you to test your meter by recording readings over time if you think that your bill is too high due to a malfunctioning gas meter. Your supplier will contact the National Grid if the problem continues. The National Grid will remove your meter and replace it if necessary.

High electricity bills

It is possible to ask your electricity supplier to check your meter if it doesn’t work properly. You may be required to record readings for a period of time to test the meter. Alternatively, your electricity supplier may ask their metering company to visit you and test your meter, or they may install a meter checker for about two weeks next to your current meter.

In the event of a fault, you won’t be charged for these tests and you’ll receive a new bill covering your actual electricity consumption.

Substandard service

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, suppliers must provide their services with reasonable skill and care, and within a reasonable timeframe.

A service provider must also meet guaranteed minimum levels of service (‘guaranteed standards’) for each individual consumer. When a service provider fails to meet the required standard, compensation must be paid.

Interrupted service

Under the Quality of Service Guaranteed Standards, you may be entitled to compensation if you experience any delays, inconveniences, or interruptions in your gas or electricity supply. You must contact your Distribution Network Operator (not your supplier) if your services are interrupted.

Double charging

There may be a period in which your old supplier continues to bill you for a period after you switch energy suppliers.

Send a copy of the new supplier’s bill to your old supplier’s customer service. If the matter cannot be resolved informally, you’ll need to file a formal complaint.


It is important to check that a document called a ‘registration’ or ‘proof of visit’ form is not an energy services contract. Under the form, some unscrupulous sales representatives might hide a contract or try to get you to sign it without your knowledge. Energy service providers have been changed without the knowledge or consent of some consumers.

Before signing any document, read the small print.

The acts described above are fraud, which is theft. You should contact the police and Trading Standards, which can impose criminal penalties.

In most cases, you will not be liable under an illegal contract. For example, if you fall for a scam, and the service you were expecting to receive isn’t delivered, you won’t be liable.

How to complain

In the event that you have a problem with your energy supply or service, it’s important to contact your supplier’s customer service as soon as possible.

Energy suppliers must respond to complaints within 8 weeks or risk being fined by Ofgem, which regulates electricity and gas markets.

You should ask for a copy of your supplier’s formal complaints procedure.

A supplier should be able to resolve the problem at this point, but if it can’t, you may need to escalate your complaint.

Escalating your complaint

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, or it is still unresolved, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman.

For more information, please visit The Energy Ombudsman.


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