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Top tips to avoid shock energy bills

A consumer watchdog is warning that thousands of small businesses could be hit by potentially crippling energy bills after being under-charged by their supplier for years at a time.

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A consumer watchdog has warned that thousands of small businesses could be hit by potentially crippling energy bills after being under-charged by their supplier for years at a time. Read on to find out how you can avoid unexpected bills. Figures from Consumer Future's helpline show that last year they received 1,848 complaints from small and micro-businesses who got unexpected bills after their energy charges were underestimated, and the problem is likely to be much wider. With small businesses spending up to £10,350 a year on gas and electricity, mistakes can quickly add up, resulting in companies being hit with back-dated bills for thousands of pounds. One of the best ways to avoid unexpected bills is by ensuring you are paying the right amount. Follow these top five tips to avoid being hit with an unforeseen energy bill: When you move into new premises, register with a supplier straight away Check thoroughly to see if there is more than one meter for each type of energy, read the meters, and make sure your supplier has your correct name and address. Give regular meter readings Energy suppliers must read the meter at least every two years but registering correct meter readings over the phone every time you get a bill will help avoid debts piling up. If you think you're paying too little, contact your supplier as soon as possible Fixing the problem early on will avoid building up a big debt that's harder to pay off. If you do get hit with a big bill, call your supplier straight away Ask them to explain what went wrong. Even though suppliers can currently demand repayment of the whole debt in one go, try to negotiate repayments you can manage. Suppliers do get it wrong If you believe this is the case and can't resolve the situation with your supplier, take your case to the Energy Ombudsman. You can also contact the Ombudsman if you took all reasonable steps to ensure your bills were correct and think that your supplier has been negligent in allowing debt to build-up. If you've received an unexpectedly large bill, contact Consumer Futurs on 08454 04 05 06. For further help and advice on energy issues, and to find out if you could save money on your bills, call the Forum helpline now on 0845 130 1722.

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