The fuel price crisis has now left millions in the dark on refunds and lumping bills.
Four million families have lost their suppliers since the price of gas began to soar just three months ago.
But many have said they haven’t heard anything about refunding credit balances to Money Mail or paying for them soon.
Nearly four million families now lose their suppliers after gas prices started to skyrocket just two months ago
Bulb, which has 1.7 million customers, is the largest company that went bust this week – following more than 20 others.
And today the Money Mail poll reveals that two-thirds of households are worried about how they will pay their energy bills this winter.
Six out of ten households told us they were still waiting for repairs even after their institution collapsed. And about a quarter of these have been waiting for two months or more, according to a consumer intelligence survey.
Many are struggling to contact their new suppliers by phone or email.
Surrey’s babywear businesswoman Sarah Cooper was on £ 460 credit when she went under her supplier Green in September.
Shell Energy is taking clients, but Sarah, 42, says she hasn’t heard anything about her bills or credit.
She says: ‘We are left in a state of misery. This is not a small amount and it can be really useful at this time of year.
Former Avro Energy customer Suzanne Samaka of Watford is now confused about where her bills are because Octopus has taken her account.
Remaining confused: Sarah Cooper says she hasn’t heard anything about her bills or credit since Green Energy bust
The 33-year-old, who runs the Young Mental Health campaign editing Honesty, says: ‘I don’t know if we’re paying the right amount or landing with a big bill soon.’
Kate Niven, who dropped utility point in September, is still waiting for her first bill from her new provider, EDF.
The 24-year-old paid £ 193.49 on credit in August and continues to pay a monthly direct debit of £ 108.
Kate, who lives in Manchester, says: ‘I’m worried my bills are too high.’
Regulator Ofgem is now looking to put the bulb in a special regime. And while wholesale gas prices are showing no signs of declining, experts have warned that dozens more firms could be down.
Here we explain where you stand if you get into a crisis …
What happens when they fail?
Controller Ofgem hires new suppliers to take over your account, so you don’t have to worry about your power being cut off. It usually takes a few days and the new firm should contact you a week later.
But if that firm takes on a large number of customers, the transfer can take months.
If your old supplier requests you to change firms before the business stops, you still have to move to your chosen company.
For bulb customers, the process is a bit different because it is the first time such a large firm has failed. At present, they remain at the same rate as long as managers are hired and do what needs to be done.
Customers with pre-paid meters can continue to use any money loaded into their meter.
New providers should prefer to send them a new key to top up their account.
Bill Fear: Kite Naveen, whose supplier collapsed at Utility Point in September, is still waiting to be transferred to its new supplier EDF
Can I lose any money?
If you were previously locked into a fixed contract, your bills could probably increase. This is because your new firm will move you to a standard variable rate tariff.
These deals are protected by price limits, which currently average £ 1,277 per user per year.
But according to the Energy Shop’s comparison site, it is still £ 410 more per year than the best fixed deals offered six months ago.
What if I Have a Credit Built-Up?
Any credit you have with your old provider should be transferred to your new account.
If you have to pay a large sum, you will be able to request a refund from your new supplier. However, many customers complain that it takes months. If you are in the middle of a switch when your firm is shut down, you have to move your balance to your new provider.
If something goes wrong, it’s up to Ofgem’s hired suppliers to refund you. Any credit will be transferred to your new account.
If my firmness is in the folds, what can I do?
Take meter reading as soon as you can. Write it down somewhere safe or take a photo on your phone so you have a record of the dispute.
It is a good idea to hold any recent bills and print copies if you can only view them online. In most cases you can never cancel your direct debit; This is to ensure that any refund can be paid into your account.
However, if your old supplier continues to take money after your new supplier starts billing you, cancel it immediately.
Ask new suppliers for refund of fake payments.
According to The Energy Shop, the cheapest fixed tariffs on the market now cost the average household £ 1,650 a year – some £ 373 more than the price limit
Can I switch to a better deal?
With firms refusing to charge consumers on standard variable tariffs higher than the price limit, many have increased fixed deals.
In fact, according to The Energy Shop, the cheapest fixed tariffs on the market now cost the average family £ 1,650 a year – some £ 373 more than the price limit.
The comparison site warned that the cap could increase by £ 1,751 in April to cover higher wholesale prices, so you have a smaller chance of saving in the long run.
However, experts insist on keeping families until the market calms down and cheap deals reappear.
There are also allegations that some firms are refusing to hire new customers. But this is contrary to Ofgem’s licensing rules.
What’s next for my supplier?
Smaller firms are always at risk of folding this winter because they cannot ‘hedge’ by buying gas and electricity in advance.
However, the fall of the bulb indicates that no provider is at fault.
Telltale signs of struggling providers include a sudden drop in customer service standards and a long delay in credit repayment.
If the problem is not resolved after eight weeks, you can complain to the Energy Ombudsman. You can switch to new suppliers before your organization collapses.
But with no cheap deals left, it’s best to sit tight for a while.
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