Having emptied the boy’s money box and excavated the sides of the sofa (a home just for elderly biros,sadly) I’m into tracking down forgotten cash. More serious amounts of money than a few coins would be nice – how about £928 million?
That’s the total amount that comparison site GoCompare Energy estimates is sitting with gas and electricity suppliers from overpaid direct debits. It says that the average household is £85 in credit. These surpluses come about when you pay by direct debit (a good idea because suppliers tend to offer a discount if you do so). The supplier sets the direct debit based on an estimate of how much energy you will use over a year divided by 12. So, if you use less than the estimate, you end up in credit.
I have just checked my account. I am more than £76 ahead on the electricity and £127 on the gas. Given that my monthly payment for electricity is £57 and for gas £48, I am miles ahead on the gas at least. I might phone them up – but to be honest, I’m not sure I can face the mind-numbing conversation about offsetting against future bills versus reducing monthly payments.
Unsurprisingly, the research from GoCompare found that only 9% of us have asked for a refund. If you’ve got a recent bill and it’s in credit then why not give your supplier a call and ask for the cash? After all, it's better in your account than sitting on the energy company’s profit and loss account. Personally, I am going to wait until the next quarter’s bill and then ask for the cash back by which time it should be quite a nice sum. That bill, I think, is due next month: so, possibly a nice windfall by Christmas.
See our SMM quick guide - Power Down on Energy Bills - here.