Published On: Fri, Jul 5th, 2024
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Millions could be paying 5% more than their smart meters say | Personal Finance | Finance

Millions of energy customers using smart meters could be paying more than they need to on their bills, new research has shown. 

Around 33 million households use smart meters in the UK which all work the same way, however, Scottish Power used a different process to calculate your bills – and it could leave you paying more than the price shown on screen. 

According to research from (MSE) has revealed that Scottish Power smart meter customers are likely to be paying around 5 per cent more than the price indicated on their ‘in home display’, as the meters don’t include VAT. 

As part of the study, MSE asked the nine major energy suppliers of power across the UK if they display VAT on the IHDs for credit customers, specially those who pay by Direct Debit or after being sent a bill each month. 

Of the nine companies, only Scottish Power revealed that they don’t include VAT on their IHD display, which means many households using the company will need to add an extra five per cent onto the number shown on their display, to account for the missing VAT, reports GB News.

In real terms, this means that any home with typical energy use could be paying an extra 20p a day if they pay by direct debit, or roughly 22p a day if they pay on receipt of bills. 

At present, energy regulator Ofgem doesn’t require companies to include VAT, charged at five per cent on their smart-meters, however Scottish Power’s prepayment meter customers do have VAT included in their IHD prices.

For any customers concerned about the VAT addition, MSE have offered two solutions to customers going forwards. The first piece of advice is to “check your bills.”

MSE said: “Make sure you check your bills carefully to understand how much you’re spending and how much VAT is added.

“Scottish Power adds that if your IHD unit rates do not match what is on your bill, this is normally due to a recent price or product change and you should allow up to seven days for these changes to be reflected on your monitor.”

The second piece of advice, is to “consider switching” energy providers, as they continued: “If having VAT shown on your in-home display is important to you, you could move to a different supplier.

“When we checked with British Gas, EDF Energy, E.on Next, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy, So Energy, Utilita, and Utility Warehouse, they all told us VAT is included in IHD prices for all customers (whether they pay by credit or in advance).”

People can always check their Scottish Power bill to see how much they are paying for their energy, including the total cost of VAT, with easy access available online, or via the Scottish Power app.

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