Just under half of all households have paid their energy bills via estimated bills in the past two years resulting in many paying more than they should, new research has revealed.
More shockingly, over the past 10 years only 12 per cent of households have regularly given energy meter readings to their energy supplier.
Many consumers are also unsure about how to submit a reading and 26 per cent have recorded the wrong meter reading before.
In the past 10 years only 12 per cent of households gave regular energy meter readings
When a new energy account is set up, if meter readings are not given an estimated bill will be sent out.
This is based on the average consumption of similar properties and how much the bills were for the previous person living there, but this can lead to consumers over or underpaying on their bills.
The research, from energy switching site Labrador and which was shared exclusively with ThisisMoney, also highlighted the low numbers of consumers switching providers each year.
Of the 2,004 Britons asked, 34 per cent said they thought their current energy supplier was giving them the best deal for their energy usage, 11 per cent said they thought there wasn’t any difference between the energy providers, and 23 per cent hadn’t switched in five years.
When looking at energy efficiency, 8 per cent of those asked said they wanted to be more efficient with their energy usage but didn’t have enough time to manage it and 9 per cent said they didn’t know how to.
The report also revealed that 4 per cent of households didn’t know how much they’re paying each month for their energy and 4 per cent were not sure if their bills have been created from an estimate or from actual readings of their meters.
Why should you read your meter?
Energy prices have been rising steadily over the past year and all of the Big Six suppliers have hiked prices. Several, including British Gas and Scottish Power, have announced more than one hike pushing consumer bills up further.
Without regular meter readings consumers pay estimated bills which may not be accurate
Consumers with a standard variable tariff have been affected by the price rises, as these tariffs can rise and fall in cost. These are typically the most expensive tariffs on the market and those with one have usually signed up to a shorter fixed-deal and then been rolled-onto the standard tariff when it ended.
Standard tariffs have been talked about a lot in the past year. The Competition and Markets Authority published the results of an investigation into the energy market in 2016 that found those on these tariffs were collectively overpaying by around £1.4billion every year.
It is now expected that a price cap will be introduced for all households with one of these bills, but the timing for when this will be implemented and the cap threshold are yet to be confirmed.
Founder and chief executive of The Labrador, Jane Lucy, said: ‘This research has lifted the lid on the inherent flaws already compounding an energy market in critical need of reform.
‘From the disparity that exists between perceived versus actual household energy management, to the apathy around energy usage and accurate billing.
‘The solution shouldn’t have to land at the door of the consumer changing their behaviour but with better, smarter solutions to re-engage customers. This is the service The Labrador is providing to the UK energy market.’
QUICK MONEY SAVER: CAN YOU CUT YOUR BILLS?
Energy firms are constantly battling to pinch customers from each other.
Shrewd consumers can take advantage of this by reviewing deals every year to ensure they are on the cheapest deal. Even moving every other year will save you significant amounts.
If you are one of the millions of people who have NEVER switched (i.e. stuck with your original supplier), then you should save a big chunk of cash. A tenth of switchers saved as much as £537 in 2017, according to energyhelpline.
You only need to be interested in the tariff that is going to be cheapest where you live, so do your own postcode comparison in minutes using the tool above – or here – to find the best price.
Read more about other quick tricks to make sure you are getting the best deal on your household bills here