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It’s always good when the weather is warmer than you expected, unless it just pours it down with rain instead! That’s what happened this winter – it wasn’t quite bleak midwinter, more an ongoing autumn.

The milder weather meant we all didn’t use our heating as much, but not all of us got a lower bill. This is because utility companies charge you an estimate of how much energy they think you’ll use. It also means you could be an average of £132 in credit, so let’s take a look at how you could claim this back.

Have you overpaid?

Research from price comparison website uSwitch found that more than four in 10 customers are now in credit on their energy account. If you pay your energy bill by Direct Debit, you’ll pay an estimated bill. Your energy company works this out based on your energy usage in previous months and years.

You’ll generally use more energy in the winter than the summer, and at the end of the year it will balance out as even. But because the winter was warmer than expected, you might not have used as much energy as your provider thought, so your bill might be too high.

Some suppliers will refund your energy credit balances automatically, but this usually only happens once a year and there could be a minimum amount. But if you check your energy balance and find out you are in credit, you can claim it back now.

How to claim

Check your electricity and gas meters and submit the readings to your energy supplier. This means they’ll have an accurate figure of how much energy you’re actually using. You can then see whether you’re in credit.

Ofgem says you’re entitled to any credit if you ask for it, as long as you provide up-to-date meter readings. If you do this, you should get a refund for your credit automatically, rather than waiting for your energy company to give it you back.

Find out if you could save even more cash if you change your energy supplier and get a cheaper tariff. Compare rates on a price comparison site like uSwitch or MoneySuperMarket and find out what deals are available for you.

You should also consider whether you want your gas and electricity to come from the same supplier or from two different providers. You might get a better deal by getting your gas and electricity from separate suppliers but this could be more of a hassle – so it’s worth looking at all of the options available.

Renters can do this too – find out how you can switch your energy provider if you’re a tenant.

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