Some gas customers could be due a refund from their energy company after E.ON spotted a mistake in the way certain meters are being read.
The error involves a mix up of measurements between old-style imperial meters and modern metric one. E.ON first raised the issue after it discovered 600 customers paid too much – one customer overpaid for as long as 15 years.
Energy regulator Ofgem is now investigating the problem, raising concerns that the problem could affect thousands of energy users with different suppliers. Want to know if you’re one of them? We take you through everything you need to know.
What’s the problem?
E.ON claims at least 600 of its customers are affected – the majority (350 cases) of customers had metric meters that were read as imperial and resulted in customers being overcharged by 183%.
In a further 250 cases, imperial meters were read as metric. This resulted in customers paying less than they were supposed to by 65%. Big six energy supplier E.ON says that the issue goes back a significant amount of time, around 15 years or so.
Am I affected?
If you’re an E.ON customer, the energy supplier will be in touch with you if you’ve paid too much. You should receive a full refund if you were overcharged and won’t need to pay anything extra if you were charged less.
It’s uncertain at the moment if customers of other suppliers are affected but Ofgem say that it is working with suppliers to make sure customers don’t lose out. If you’re unsure whether your gas meter is based on metric or imperial measurements, it’s easy to check.
An imperial meter will typically say "ft³" on the front whereas a metric one will usually show "m³". Metric meters will typically highlight the units of gas in red and separate the digits by a decimal point. With an imperial meter, the partial units are usually displayed on the dial.
For more detail on this, look at the government’s explanation of the differences between imperial and metric meters
When will I receive a refund?
Ofgem believes that this problem could have affected thousands of households. All other energy firms have been told to identify the affected customers and start the refund process.
Although it’s unknown what the timescale for compensation is, your supplier should be in touch with you fairly soon if you’re due a refund. E.ON is tackling refunds on a case-by-case basis, and is likely to give the refund by cheque.
According to Ofgem, the amount of gas customers affected by this human error is very small – a total of around 0.03% of 21 million UK customers. With that said, be on the lookout for any correspondence from your energy supplier and follow their instructions if they do get in touch.