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Gas & Electricity Regulations

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FAQs

We have four pages of gas & electricity FAQs, so if you have a question on a specific topic please choose from the options below

Energy regulation, services for the less able, energy efficiency and meters

You need to contact your supplier. Unless you are registered as a vulnerable customer, you may be charged for this service. If you qualify as a vulnerable customer, the service will be free of charge.

If you think there is a problem with your meter, rather than your bill (which may be based on an estimate) you should contact your supplier. The supplier will be able to perform a simple test to ensure that the meter is working properly. If you are still worried about the meter’s accuracy, you can ask your supplier to have the meter examined by Ofgem’s Meter Examining Service, which is a free test. If you have been overcharged, your supplier will have to repay you the amount overpaid. Be aware though, that an examination may find that you have been undercharged, in which case the supplier has the right to charge for the extra energy that you have used.

That depends on your new supplier. The supplier may either arrange for someone to come and read your meter, or may ask you to read your meter yourself. Either way, it is useful for you to make – and keep a note of – the reading to ensure that you agree with the final bill from your old supplier when it arrives.

No. You don’t have to touch your meter at all when changing electricity supplier although you may be asked to read it. If you wish, you can decide that you would like to have a different type of meter, such as moving from a single rate meter to either multi-rate or prepayment. Contact your supplier if you want to change your meter.

There are 3 main types of electricity meter. A single rate meter (which is the most common); a multi-rate meter, which allows you to take advantage of cheap-rate electricity at night (Economy 7), and a pre-payment meter, where you pay for the electricity in advance of using it.

Economy 7 allows you to benefit from 7 hours of cheaper energy during night hours. Economy 7 requires a special Multi-Rate meter to be installed at your home.

A good source of information is the Energy Savings Trust website. The Energy Savings Trust (EST) is an independent, government-funded organisation aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of using energy efficient products and services that could help you save energy, help the environment and also save money.
You can check them out at est.org.uk. The EST also offers a useful online tool that can help you find grants and other financial help to make your home more energy efficient.

Supply companies are obliged to provide advice on the efficient use of energy in the home to anyone requesting it. This advice typically covers home insulation, the efficient use of energy, and information regarding the use of electrical appliances. Your supplier also has to provide you with information about getting financial help to make your home more energy efficient.

If you qualify, you may be able to obtain special arrangements with respect to the use and positioning of your meter, additional security measures associated with identifying anyone working for the supplier who enters your home, and with respect to where your bills are sent. Suppliers are also required not to disconnect vulnerable customers, with outstanding bills, during the winter months.

Energy suppliers are required to keep a record of customers who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically ill. If you qualify, it is in your interest to notify your supplier of your status. This information will allow your supplier to identify your special needs and give you special advice and assistance. For electricity, the supplier may, with your consent, pass this information onto the distribution company that maintains the cables, wires and pipes that supply energy to your home. This will enable the distribution company to notify you well in advance of a supply interruption.

You can get special help if you are a domestic customer and either a pensioner, disabled or chronically ill. There are also special services for the blind and deaf. If you qualify for special assistance, we recommend you inform your supplier of your status.

All energy suppliers are required, under the terms of their licenses, to produce and comply with a Code of Practice that sets out services for elderly, disabled and chronically ill customers. Suppliers must provide additional help to such disadvantaged customers on request. Ofgem is responsible for monitoring adherence to this code.

Consumer Focus acts as the consumer advocate in domestic energy matters. The organisation has taken over responsibility from Ofgem for providing bi-monthly fact sheets providing tariff data and bill analyses for all licensed gas and electricity suppliers. For more information visit the Consumer Focus website.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets – Ofgem – is the independent regulator of the two energy markets. New suppliers need to be authorised by Ofgem before they can supply you with gas and/or electricity. Ofgem will ensure that suppliers are able to supply sufficient energy to meet the demands of their customers.

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