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Staying connected - impartial advice and information for energy customers - Turn2us

Consumer Focus website (link opens in a new window)Consumer Focus (the independent consumer organisations) and Energy UK (the trade association for the gas and electricity sector) are urging consumers to find out what extras they may be entitled to from their energy firm - and look into how they might be able to get a better deal.

The call comes as new research from Consumer Focus shows that when asked about ten key consumer energy rights less than one in four customers were aware of the majority of them. Almost two-thirds of customers were only aware of half or fewer of their entitlements.

Staying Connected

To help put the information customers need at their fingertips, a new consumer resource, Staying Connected (link opens in a new window), has been launched by Consumer Focus, Ofgem (the energy regulator) and the energy industry. Over the next few months every household in Britain will receive a booklet in the post with impartial advice on your energy rights, how to get the best deal and where to find help when you need it. The booklet will accompany your latest energy bill, but it has been written by Consumer Focus. 

Top ten consumer energy rights

To mark the launch of this new resource, Consumer Focus has published a list of the top ten consumer energy rights which could help save you money:

  • You don’t have to wait in all day for a meter reader or engineer. If your energy firm needs to visit you at home, you are entitled to a two hour appointment slot and compensation if they miss it – £20 if it was gas or £22 if it was electricity related (£42 if both).
  • Your supplier can’t backdate charges for any more than one year, if they have made a mistake and underestimated your bills. Giving regular meter readings to your energy firm can help ensure you always pay the right amount.
  • Your energy firm must give you 30 days notice of any price rise and cannot implement the increase if you tell them within 15 working days that you’re leaving. They also can’t charge fixed-term deal customers an exit fee if they switch within this time.
  • Consumers can claim compensation for power cuts from their energy distributor (not supplier): £54 for an outage of 18 hours (£27 for each additional 12 hours without power); or £54 for four or more power-cuts in a year lasting three hours plus.
  • People who are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick can get extra help through their supplier’s Priority Services Register. This includes free quarterly meter readings, bills in large print or braille or bills sent to a friend/ relative and a free annual gas safety check for those in receipt of means-tested benefits.
  • If you switch supplier, it should take no longer than five weeks (two weeks cooling off and three weeks for the switch). Suppliers have also committed to make switching hassle-free, so the buck stops with them to sort out any problems, not the customer.
  • You are entitled to £250 compensation if you are switched to an energy firm without your permission. You are also entitled to compensation if you can prove you were deliberately misled by a sales person.
  • If you get into debt, your supplier must agree repayments that are affordable for you, they cannot set the amount. Some suppliers also have trust funds which can help you to settle debts or other essential costs. You can use the Turn2us Grants Search database to search for these. See also the Turn2us Energy Schemes information sheet and Turn2us Fuel Poverty information sheet
  • Suppliers offer free insulation to those on low incomes, which on average cuts £120 a year off your energy bill. Many are offering cash incentives to low income households that take up free insulation and are providing free insulation to other customers too. See the Turn2us Grants for energy efficiency information sheet
  • If you switch your energy supplier, you have 14 days to change your mind and cancel the switch, without incurring any charges.

Citizens Advice consumer service

If you have problems with your energy supplier, Citizens Advice Consumer Service (link opens in a new window) can advise further.  

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