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Between the global pandemic, the looming uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and industries in a near-constant state of flux, many UK markets seem on the cusp of cataclysmic change. And that’s as true for the energy industry as it is for any other. As such, in regards to energy management, it’s possible you’ve been with at least one energy supplier that’s gone bust over the past few years. If your energy supplier has gone bust, you may worry that your energy supply will be cut off or that your bills will skyrocket under a new supplier. But the more we know and understand, the less fearful such a change will be.
Last update: August 2022
What is an erroneous transfer?
An erroneous transfer is when an energy supplier tries to, or does, take over your energy supply by mistake. There can be a number of reasons why this might happen, including:
- Your details end up with a supplier by mistake – which is more common if you live in a flat or a new build
- Your meter details are not correct on the national database
- A human or systems error has taken place
- The two suppliers in question are related
- Your details have been used fraudulently for a switch
What happens during an erroneous transfer?
Once you have noticed the error and reported it to the supplier they will work hard to sort it out as quickly as possible. What generally happens is the following:
- Make sure your old and new supplier know that you have been switched by mistake
- They will apologise and work to rectify the situation
- The will provide some kind of confirmation so that you know steps are being taken
- They will work hard to switch you back to your old supplier as soon as possible
How long does an erroneous transfer take to sort out?
It depends on the case in question. Your supplier will usually try to switch you back to your old supplier within 25 days. However, it can take up to 10 to 12 weeks to sort out all the issues involved. However, you may find that you are happy to have switched to your new supplier. You should still let all parties know but can also inform them that you want no further action to be taken.
Who do I pay for my energy while an erroneous transfer is taking place?
You will pay your chosen supplier as normal. They will generally take care of the financial side of things between themselves and the new supplier. You should not end up out of pocket in any way and will be billed at the same rate as usual. You will not receive any further bills from your new supplier once they have been informed.
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Erroneous transfer customer charter
The Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter is overseen by the regulator Ofgem. It was put in place to impose mandatory requirements upon suppliers to protect consumers who have been erroneously transferred. It is contained in the MRA and SPAA industry codes.
What happens next?
Once you’ve contacted the supplier, they should write to you within five working days to explain what they are going to do about the error. They will contact you again within 20 working days to confirm they are going to reverse the switch or explain why the switch was made.
Your old supplier should switch you back within 21 days of the date they agree a mistake was made. But as we have seen above, this does not always happen this quickly and can take up to 12 weeks.
You’ll automatically get £30 in compensation from the new supplier for the inconvenience caused, if the error is theirs. You will receive this within 10 workings days after the mistake has been acknowledged. The compensation will take the form of a cheque or be paid directly into your bank account. You may need to provide your bank details.
Is there any other compensation?
All suppliers must follow the deadlines as laid out in the Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter. You will be entitled to an additional £30 compensation the following apply:
- The supplier takes more than 20 working days to respond
- Both old and new suppliers take more than 20 working days to agree whether the switch was correct
- Your old supplier takes more than 21 working days to re-register you once they know about the mistake
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Energy supplier changed without permission?
This is known as an erroneous transfer. This is when an energy supplier takes over your energy supply by mistake. There can be a number of reasons why this might happen, including incorrect details on the national database, a human error has taken place or there is fraudulent action.
What should you do?
The first thing you should do is report the mistake to both your new supplier and your old supplier. They will then sort out the mistake and ensure that you are not paying any more for your energy during this time. It can take up to 12 weeks to rectify the error.
Is there any compensation?
You'll automatically get £30 in compensation from the new supplier for the inconvenience caused if the error is theirs. You will receive this within 10 workings days after the mistake has been acknowledged.
What if my switch back is delayed?
Then you may be entitled to a further £30 compensation if certain deadlines are not met according to the Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter.
Updated on 8 Aug, 2022
Consumer Energy Expert