Code of Practice for Accurate Bills
The code of practice for accurate bills (the ‘billing code’) represents a series of voluntary commitments which has been developed to beyond the supplier licence conditions and applies to domestic customers only.
The billing code aims to drive improved standards of performance and to provide a common framework around which energy suppliers can build better processes and controls for billing their customers.
This is an important code particularly as over 200 million energy bills are sent to customers every year. The six members of the billing code - British Gas (including Scottish Gas), E.O.N., EDF Energy, npower, ScottishPower and SSE - recognise that better, clearer information is needed to ensure consumer trust.
Members of the billing code are independently and rigorously audited on an annual basis to ensure compliance against five commitment areas:
2. Meter reading
3. Energy bills and statements
4. Payment and refunds
5. Back billing
This code sets out the minimum standards members must follow, as well as the responsabilities of all energy suppliers.
The billing code scenarios are a collection of frequently asked questions which many customers have about their energy bills and the billing code. We have developed the scenarios with input from the billing code members and are designed to explain the specific areas of the billing code.
A back bill is often called a ‘catch-up’ bill. It shows your charges either when your energy supplier hasn’t billed you at all, or when you’ve been billed incorrectly for the energy you’ve used. Back bills can be for any amount. However, if suppliers have made a mistake, they have agreed to limit when and how far back they can charge you to no more than one year.
So, if your supplier is at fault and hasn’t sent you an accurate bill, when they do send a ‘catch-up’ bill, they won’t ask you to pay any extra for any energy used more than one year ago. When working out any adjustment to your bill, suppliers will take off any payments or other financial credits already applied to the account.
The back-billing scenarios document has been developed with input from suppliers to reflect the principles which all of the major energy suppliers follow relating to back billing in the domestic energy market.
Billing code audit results
Customers can have greater confidence in the accuracy of their energy bills as a result of the voluntary industry billing code.