Back billing is when a 'catch up' bill is created to cover the amount owed by a customer who has been incorrectly charged by a supplier. While this is common practice in energy and many other industries, it can cause particular problems for micro businesses.
We recognise this and have invested in our systems and processes to help prevent back billing. Energy regulator Ofgem has also set out back billing rules to help protect micro businesses when they receive an energy back bill.
When do the back billing rules apply?
Back-billing can be for any amount, but is limited to 12 months from finding an error to a corrected bill being issued.
Under the Ofgem back billing rules, you can't be charged for any unbilled energy used more than 12 months ago.
This protection may not apply if you've behaved obstructively or unreasonably in a way which prevents us from accurately billing you. For example, if you've prevented us on more than one occasion from taking a meter reading at your premises, or if you've stolen gas or electricity from us.
Steps to get accurate bills
There are a number of steps you can take to avoid back billing and make sure we only charge you for the energy you use.
1. Submit your meter readings any time, quickly and easily online
2. Get a smart meter installed - no more meter readings and accurate bills
3. Tell us if you're moving premises
If you have to deal with a back bill and you're struggling to pay, we may be able to offer payment plans up to the length of the original back bill to help spread the cost and lessen the impact.
If you're experiencing financial difficulty there are several organisations who offer independent advice and support.
Business Debtline is an established charity that provides free, impartial and confidential debt advice to small businesses and the self-employed. Part of the Money Advice Trust.
Citizens Advice and Advice Direct Scotland are the official sources of free and independent advice and support.
See the definition of a micro business and the standards and guidelines set out by Ofgem to help support and protect micro businesses.