Are your household bill accounts in credit? Could you be entitled to a rebate - and reduced monthly payments?

Reclaim credit accrued on your household bills

Reclaim credit accrued on your household bills - Credit: Archant

I’ve good news to report this week.

It comes in the shape of a financial windfall. And what’s more, it was from my energy company.

But, I have to tell you, this windfall was not offered up entirely willingly. I had to go in search of it. For that reason, my story of good fortune is also a cautionary tale for the rest of you, especially if you pay a set amount on monthly direct debit.

I think the energy companies call it a budget account. But in my case it had turned into a savings account I didn’t know I had. And I wasn’t earning any interest on it ? although, presumably, they were. Unbeknown to me, I had, in fact, been paying so much more every month than I actually needed to that I had accumulated £250 credit on my account.

And I found out only by chance when I dutifully submitted my monthly meter reading online. It’s a paperless account and generally I don’t bother to check whether it’s in credit or debit. I naively assumed I would be told if it went significantly into the red or (and I laughed at the very idea of this) into the black. So imagine my surprise when I checked out my latest bill. I phoned up the customer service department to make sure I was reading it correctly.

“Yes,” that’s right, said the smiley woman on the other end of the phone.

“Well, in that case,” I asked, “can I have my money back, please... and my direct debit reduced too?”

Most Read

She transferred me to another department so the transaction could be completed but by now I was wondering what else my energy company hadn’t told me about. Energy prices have dropped recently. Was, for instance, there a cheaper tariff I could switch to, even though my fixed price deal didn’t end until April?

There was. And what’s more, it would work out £20 cheaper a month than I had been paying. After a year of thrifty living I’m on my way to being a semi-savvy consumer, so I decided to check what was available from other providers before signing up to this new deal. And as it appeared to be better than anything else on the market I resolved to forgive my energy company for failing to give me back my money and offer me a cheaper deal unprompted.

The people in their customer service department couldn’t have been more jolly, too. And that counts for a lot. But from now on I’ll be keeping a closer eye on that savings, I mean budget, account.

Email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk or tweet using #ThriftyLiving

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter