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500,000 Britons can have energy bill direct debit hikes reviewed – will you? | Personal Finance | Finance

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Amid surging complaints about soaring energy charges and credit balances, Ofgem said that even though it “didn’t find evidence” of “unjustifiably high direct debits” it has called for motion. It has called for all energy firms that hiked customers’ bills by greater than 100% between 1 February and 30 April 2022 to review them. That is despite the worth cap rising by 54 percent to £1,971 from £1,277. Ofgem estimates that 100,000 Britons were affected by hikes of this level.

The research found that out of a complete of 17 large suppliers out there, the bulk were found only to have minor issues.

Nevertheless, Ofgem highlighted that five had “moderate and severe” weaknesses.

Ofgem said: “Where appropriate, Ofgem also expects suppliers to regulate any miscalculations, including making repayments if needed, and consider whether a goodwill payment is warranted.”

Ofgem has given energy firms two weeks to do that.

If the suppliers don’t take motion fast enough, Ofgem will consider enforcement motion.

After the April price hike to energy bills, the common bill rose by 62 percent for people paying by direct debit.

The newest predictions by Cornwall Insight suggest that the worth cap could rise again to £3,244 from October this yr.

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That is up from the previous prediction of £3,003 that was estimated in June.

Additionally it is predicted that the worth cap could rise even further to £3,363 from January 2023.

The energy firms highlighted by Ofgem as having severe weaknesses were TruEnergy and UK Energy Incubator Hub (UKEIH) which has now since ceased trading.

In each cases, Ofgem found that the suppliers “didn’t have a consistent and structured approach to setting customer direct debits” and located “severe concerns over the maturity of their processes”.

Ofgem stated that is “putting consumers at serious risk of inconsistent or poor outcomes”.

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The firms with moderate weaknesses were identified as Ecotricity, Good Energy, Green Energy UK and Utilita Energy.

The regulator said it had found failings starting from “inadequately documented or embedded processes, weak governance and controls, to an overall lack of a structured approach to setting customer direct debits”.

Bulb, E.ON, Octopus Energy, Outfox the Market, Ovo, Shell and Utility Warehouse had minor weaknesses.

British Gas, EDF, ScottishPower and SO Energy were found the don’t have any significant issues.

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Ofgem said that its predominant “concern” is that “in some cases” it could “result in customer direct debits being set incorrectly, or not being evaluated for a very long time”.

This might then cause “a build-up of unnecessarily large credit balances or debt” depending on whether the shopper is under- or overpaying.

Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem CEO, said: “We understand how hard it’s for energy customers for the time being so it’s crucial that the quantity they pay every month in direct debits is correct in order that they can manage their money.

“Suppliers must do all they’ll, especially through the current gas crisis, to support customers and to recognise the numerous worry and concern increased direct debits may cause.”

Founding father of MoneySavingsExpert.com Martin Lewis stated that the following increase in the worth cap is ready to “climax in catastrophe”.

In a post, he wrote: “Enjoy this week’s warmth, the approaching winter might be bleak, the associated fee of living crisis is ready to climax in catastrophe unless there’s further intervention.”

Up to now, the Government has not announced any further support from what was announced by former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in May.

For energy costs, the federal government is to supply every household in England, Scotland and Wales which is connected to the electricity grid will receive a £400 payment to assist with energy costs.

This is anticipated to cover around 28 million homes, nonetheless, with the worth cap set to extend by an additional £1,200 in October, the support doesn’t appear like it is going to be enough for some.

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