I used Martin Lewis’ next level energy tip to reclaim £600 – we had the money within days

A MARTIN Lewis fan has revealed how she clawed back £600 after using one of the consumer champion’s money-saving tips.

The MoneySavingExpert.com reader got the cash boost after asking her firm to repay what she was owed in energy credit.

A Martin Lewis fan has revealed how they got £600 back from their energy supplier


A Martin Lewis fan has revealed how they got £600 back from their energy supplierCredit: Getty

If you pay for your energy by direct debit, most firms take the annual cost of your bill and divide it by 12 which means some parts of the year you are in credit and others debt.

But because the monthly payments are estimated, it can mean you end up being in too much credit at certain times of the year.

You can ask for it to be repaid though, meaning you could get a giant lump sum back.

Of course, it’s sensible to leave a bit of credit in your account in the run up to the winter months, when you spend more.

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However, Martin Lewis‘ MSE previously said the best time to ask for credit back is around May, when your energy debt is likely to have stopped rising after the colder months.

And in its latest newsletter, a reader’s story was shared revealing how they recently used the tip to claw back £600.

The reader, known only as Amelie, branded the MSE trick “next level” and said the refund was issued within days of asking for it.

She said: “Thanks for your detailed explanations on gas and electricity and what time of year it makes sense to be in credit and debt.

“My partner and I were able to secure a £600 repayment.

“Of course, our supplier at first suggested leaving the money in our account and only after I explained to them why it didn’t make sense did they say ‘OK’.”

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How to ask your supplier for credit back

You will first want to make sure your energy firm has the most up-to-date meter reading for you.

If you’ve got a smart meter, this will likely be sending regular readings to your firm so you won’t have to take a meter reading.

If your meter readings are up-to-date and if you have been in credit for more than one month, ask your energy firm to reimburse you.

Each energy supplier has its own process for issuing customers with credit refunds.

What energy bill help is available?

THERE’S a number of different ways to get help paying your energy bills if you’re struggling to get by.

If you fall into debt, you can always approach your supplier to see if they can put you on a repayment plan before putting you on a prepayment meter.

This involves paying off what you owe in instalments over a set period.

If your supplier offers you a repayment plan you don’t think you can afford, speak to them again to see if you can negotiate a better deal.

Several energy firms have grant schemes available to customers struggling to cover their bills.

But eligibility criteria varies depending on the supplier and the amount you can get depends on your financial circumstances.

For example, British Gas or Scottish Gas customers struggling to pay their energy bills can get grants worth up to £1,500.

British Gas also offers help via its British Gas Energy Trust and Individuals Family Fund.

You don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply for the second fund.

EDF, E.ON, Octopus Energy and Scottish Power all offer grants to struggling customers too.

Thousands of vulnerable households are missing out on extra help and protections by not signing up to the Priority Services Register (PSR).

The service helps support vulnerable households, such as those who are elderly or ill, and some of the perks include being given advance warning of blackouts, free gas safety checks and extra support if you’re struggling.

Get in touch with your energy firm to see if you can apply.

For example, British Gas says it will issue you a refund if you have been billed in the last 14 days and you are not switching to another firm.

If these apply, it refunds you your credit balance within 10 working days.

Octopus Energy says if you’ve got more credit on your account than you need, you can request any excess back.

But you need to have had an energy bill based on real meter readings in the 14 days before requesting a refund.

How to challenge an unfair direct debit

If you pay your energy bill by direct debit, then it is assumed that this monthly amount should be “fair and reasonable”.

If you don’t think it is, you can complain directly to your supplier in the first instance.

If you’re not happy with the outcome you can take it to the independent Energy Ombudsman to dispute, but there are a few steps before you get to that stage.

Your supplier must clearly explain why it’s chosen that amount for your direct debit.

If you’ve got credit on your account, you have every right to get it back – although some experts recommend keeping it there through the summer, so your bills don’t go up in the winter when you use more energy.

Your supplier must refund you or explain exactly why not otherwise the regulator, Ofgem, can fine suppliers if they don’t.

If you are disputing a bill, taking a meter reading is a must.

If it’s lower than your estimate, you can ask your provider to lower your monthly direct debit to a more suitable amount.

But beware so you don’t end up in debt later on with a bigger catch-up bill at the end of the year from underpayments racking up.

If you don’t have success in negotiating a lower payment then you can put in a complaint to the Energy Ombudsman.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk.

Plus, you can join our Sun Money Chats and Tips Facebook group to share your tips and stories

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