News Advice column Unexpectedly high energy bills “My energy bill really shot up last month. I don’t feel like I’ve been using any more heating or electricity than usual, so I’m worried I’m being overcharged. I’ve tried to contact my energy supplier for support, but no one ever seems to answer the phone or respond to my emails. I’ve waited on hold for nearly an hour several times before giving up. What should I do?” It’s normal for your energy bills to change depending on the time of year and how much gas and electricity you’re using. But if your bills seem strangely high, then it’s important to investigate why. Firstly, check your meter is working properly and your usage has definitely not gone up, even accidently. Also check what heaters you have and whether you’re using them correctly. Night storage radiators and immersion heaters in particular can cause very high bills if used incorrectly. There are a few things worth looking into. It could be that your bill is an estimate, in which case you need to give your supplier a new meter reading. If it’s not an estimate, check your last meter reading to see if it matches the one on your bill. If you still don’t have an answer, your supplier might have raised their prices. In any case, you’re doing the right thing to contact them. Customer service varies between suppliers and unfortunately we hear of many bad experiences similar to yours. We also know the problem has worsened during the pandemic. If you’re struggling to get through to them, you could make a formal complaint. We offer advice on how to do this and things to consider first. We publish a comparison table every three months which rates suppliers’ customer service, based on things like telephone wait time, email response time and the accuracy of their bills. Have a look for yours to see how they fare against others. If they’re low on the list, consider switching to a different one. If you’d like to talk it through with someone, you can contact the consumer helpline. We also offer free confidential advice. Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak we have closed our offices to face to face services. We are providing advice by phone and email Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm. You can contact us through Adviceline: 0808 2787 806 or use our email enquiry service. Alternatively you can contact us through webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website.