How to challenge unfair energy bills as major firm denies widespread issue after celebs hit by 'ridiculous' £39k demand | The Sun

WINTER is here and the squeeze on energy bills is about to get very real in the new year when Ofgem's new price cap comes into force.

But what happens if the amount you're being charged is unfairly high? We reveal how you can challenge your bill.

Suppliers are allowed to increase customers' direct debits, but any rise should be in line with a household's usage.

You should get 10 days' notice before your monthly direct debit goes up, too.

But some households may still fall through the gap and see their bills forecast rise astronomically without explanation.

It comes as EDF Energy customers, including Jon Sopel and Grayson Perry, claim they are facing substantial increases to their monthly bills, some surging by over 12,000%.

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Mr Sopel expressed his concerns on social media about the spike in his monthly standing order from £152 to £19,274.

Jon Sopel wrote on X (formerly Twitter): "Dear EDF Energy just had a notification that our monthly standing order is going up from £152 a month to £19,274.

"Seems a bit steep. Is there a human rather than a bot we can talk to? Many thanks and merry Christmas. Jon".

Artist Grayson Perry wrote on X: "Hi EDF Energy, I've been trying to speak to someone to explain how my electricity bill went from £300 a month to £39,000.

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"Your call centre has been no help but you tried to direct debit this amount today from my account."

The Sun has contacted EDF Energy for comment.

If you think your bill is inaccurate the first thing you'll need to do before challenging it is work out how much you should expect to pay across the year.

How do I calculate my bill?

To calculate how much you should be roughly paying, you will need to find out both your unit rate for gas and electricity and the standing charge for each fuel type.

The unit rate will usually be shown on your bill in p/kWh.

The standing charge is a daily fee that is paid 365 days of the year – irrespective of whether or not you use any gas or electricity.

You will then need to note down your own annual energy usage from a previous bill.

Once you have these details you can work out your gas and electricity costs separately.

Multiply your usage in kWh by the unit rate cost in p/kWh for the corresponding fuel type – this will give you your usage costs.

You'll then need to multiply each standing charge by 365 and add this figure to the totals for your usage – this will then give you your annual costs.

Divide this figure by 12 and you'll be able to work out how much you should expect to pay each month.

How do I challenge my energy bill?

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 should 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 and the regulator, Ofgem, can fine suppliers if they don't.

To ask for a refund call your supplier or contact them online.

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.

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