In the last year with electricity and gas prices through the roof, the arrival of the electricity bill every month to our homes has become an event for many families with limited budgets.
Hence more than ever the importance of the figures billed in each period are correct so that they don’t give us unnecessary scares. However, it is still common for us to receive an invoice with errors, with estimated consumption values not real which must then be adjusted in subsequent reviews or with late payments.
In these cases, to the basic rights that consumers have when contracting with an electricity or gas company, other additional rights are added that, for example, limit the billing periods that can be regularized, so that companies cannot go back indefinitely in time when asking us for delayed consumption, but there are also regulations regarding the splitting the payment of late invoices. What rights do we have in these situations?
I have been overcharged or undercharged on my electricity bill
If we have detected that the electric company bill is wrongwhether due to an administrative error or a meter failure, as explained by the OCU, consumption will have to be recalculated and issue a supplementary invoicewhich cannot be claimed in any way, except as stated in article 96.2 of Royal Decree 1955/2000.
- Thus, if they had invoiced lower amounts due, the difference may be prorated in as many monthly invoices as the number of months elapsed in the error, without exceeding the deferral or the period to be rectified of one year. The OCU gives us a clear example of this procedure: If we have been undercharged by 120 euros in January, they can claim it in December at the latest and we will be able to pay it at a rate of 10 euros per month in the following twelve invoices.
- In the opposite case, that is, They have overcharged us on the electricity bill, they must return all amounts improperly invoiced to us in the first subsequent billing, without splitting the amounts to be returned. Furthermore, in this case the legal interest of the money in force at the time of re-invoicing will be applied to the amounts.
I have been overcharged or undercharged on my gas bill
If the problem is with the gas billbecause they have not been able to read the meter for reasons beyond the control of the distributor and we have not facilitated the reading (for example, because you have been away from home for a while), they can charge you a cestimated consumption and based on the history of your supply point, but as the OCU points out, they must make at least one annual regularization based on an actual reading.
And the collections of these invoices with errors must be made according to article 51 of Royal Decree 1434/2002:
- If they have overcharged, they must return it all at once on the first invoice issued after that actual reading and applying legal interest to the returned amount of the money, unless the errors derive from readings poorly communicated by us.
- If we have underchargedthey must charge us what is missing distributed in as many invoices as months have passed since the last real reading.
- Finally, if they have undercharged for reasons other than the estimates (for example due to administrative errors or the distributor has spent time without reading the meter or has done so late), They will only be able to take into account up to six months to claim.
Furthermore, we have to know that There are no time limits when it is the companies that owe money to the consumer. Anything that they have overcharged us has to be returned.
Via | OCU
Cover image | Ibrahim Boran
In Xataka Smart Home | Changing electricity or gas companies: what rights do consumers have and what can they ask of us when doing so?