Octopus Energy sends urgent £178 warning to millions of customers over bills

Octopus Energy has issued a warning to its millions of direct debit customers about their monthly bills. As the weather starts to improve, many households may have stopped using their heating in an attempt to save money.

This means that customers who pay a fixed amount each month for their energy via direct debit might notice they are accumulating credit on their accounts due to using less gas and electricity than during the peak of winter. This could lead some to question why their bills aren't starting to decrease now that they are using less.

The reason lies in how the direct debit payment system operates. Energy suppliers charge a fixed amount each month to prevent bills from wildly fluctuating throughout the year, reports Birmingham Live.

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The money that is essentially 'overpaid' during the warmer spring and summer months is saved and then used to pay for energy when usage is higher during winter, without causing a spike in payments for households. However, some people may find themselves hundreds of pounds in credit, at which point it may be worth considering claiming back some or all of that money.

Customers are entitled to claim their credit at any point, but it's wise to consider the implications, as it could lead to higher payments in winter.

The average household finds itself £178 in credit, highlighting that energy suppliers might need to adjust direct debit payments to avoid excessive credit build-up.

Octopus Energy has illuminated the common occurrence of customers having a credit balance, explaining: "Most people use more energy in winter and less in summer, but pay the same amount each month via direct debit. That means you build up credit during the summer to help towards your higher winter bills."

The energy supplier also elaborated on their tools for managing payments: "Our balance forecast tool tells you if your balance is on track. If you pay monthly by direct debit, and you're on a standard fixed or flexible tariff, you can use the balance forecast to see how your payments will cover your energy usage over the next 12 months."

In response to concerns about accumulating too much credit, Octopus Energy offered guidance: "If you're building up too much credit, send us a meter reading to make sure your energy charges are up to date. If you have a high amount of credit, you can request a refund online or get in touch."

For customers who are struggling with their payments, the firm provided reassurance: "If you're worried about your payments, here's how we can help if you're struggling to pay for your energy."

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