Erroneous transfers: Switched by mistake
Switching energy suppliers is usually a very straightforward process, and involves very little input from the customer past the point of the initial switch; energy companies speak to each other directly to ensure that switches go ahead smoothly and with no disruption to supply.
However, occasionally an energy supplier takes over the supply of a property by mistake. This is called an erroneous transfer (ET) – it’s rare, and only happens in around 1% of switches.
If it happens to you, there are processes in place to ensure that your energy supply will continue as normal.
Think your supply has been transferred erroneously?
If you get an unexpected final bill from your original supplier, or a welcome letter from an energy supplier that you haven’t signed up with, you should contact them as soon as possible so that they can cancel or reverse the switch.
How do erroneous transfers happen?
Erroneous transfers can happen because:
- Incorrect customer address details are entered by mistake during genuine switches (this is more common if you live in a flat or new-build property).
- Meter details are incorrect on the national database (all energy companies use the same database. If something is incorrect, it can cause problems).
- There’s been a human or systems error at an energy company.
- A third party price comparison company may have used the incorrect address details on a genuine switch.
- The customer has related supplies but a new supplier has only taken one.
- In very rare cases, customer details may have been used fraudulently to apply for a switch.
How long does an ET take to fix?
All energy suppliers need to follow the regulated ‘Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter’, which protects customers in these types of events. It defines what to do, and how long it should take to resolve the issue and return the customer to the correct supplier.
In reality, once a supplier has been contacted about a possible incorrect switch, they will contact the customer within 5 working days to explain what they plan to do, and within 20 working days the customer should receive confirmation of whether an erroneous transfer has happened and the next steps.
Guaranteed standards of performance.
- If an erroneous transfer has happened, you are entitled to £30 compensation if you have been impacted. This includes:
- It taking more than 20 working days to get a response to your initial contact regarding an ET.
- It taking more than 20 working days to reach an agreement with your original supplier as to whether your switch was correct.
- It taking more than 15 working days to re-register you as a customer with your original supplier.
Which bill should you pay while the ET is being rectified?
You should continue to pay your original supplier, just as normal.
The two suppliers will work together to make sure that you’re never left out-of-pocket, and you’ll never have to pay a supplier that you didn’t consent to join.
How to check that your energy supplier has the right meter numbers.
If you’d like to check that your new energy supplier is taking over the right meters for your property, the easiest way is by comparing supply numbers.
In the national database, all meters are listed under individual supply numbers – Electricity uses MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) and gas uses MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number).
These numbers can be found on your previous supplier bills and can be compared against the welcome letter from your new energy supplier.
If your supply numbers match, you don’t have to do anything else.
If the numbers are different, please get in touch with your new supplier so they can make sure they are switching the right meter.