Why is there a credit on your account, and what does it mean?
Find out everything you need to know about account credit – otherwise known as having a “positive balance”. Learn what it means, how it's credited, and much more.
Firstly, 2 things to be aware of. A ‘credit’ on your account usually refers to when we’ve made a refund to your energy account.
On the other hand, if you're "in credit" – otherwise known as a “positive balance” – this refers to when your chosen Direct Debit is higher than the amount of energy you’re using – leaving you with – you guessed it, a positive balance.
Now we’ve cleared that up, let's explore positive balances in more detail:
What does CR on your bill mean?
A positive balance (which may also appear as CR on your bill) means you’ve paid for more energy than you’ve actually used. Not a bad predicament to be in, eh?!
It happens if you use less energy than you’ve paid for – so for instance, if your DIrect Debit amount is more than the total cost of your energy.
When you have a positive account balance, you’ll earn Interest Rewards (read more about them below) – which we deducted from what you owe. We show this on your Billing screen, and on your bill, as a minus (-£) figure coming off your bill. Here’s an example of how it looks on screen:
A positive balance is actually quite handy – as it can help to cover the cost of the extra energy you’ll likely use (above your normal Direct Debit amount) over winter. And don’t forget, as an OVO member, you’ll also get 3-5% Interest Rewards on any positive balance.
If you’re not yet with OVO, switch today to start reaping those rewards.
How Interest Rewards work
OVO Interest Reward is our way of saying thank you for keeping your energy account balance in credit. We pay it on positive balances that are higher than your Direct Debit amount.
For example, if you have a positive balance of £150, and your Direct Debit amount is £100, we'll pay the reward on the extra £50.
Your interest rate will also go up the longer you’re with us. In the first year you get 3%, in year 2, it goes up to 4%, and in your third year and beyond it’s 5%.
How Interest Rewards are paid
We calculate your Interest Rewards each month – and we add interest to any positive balance on your energy account balance between Direct Debit payments.
We’ll apply it to your account balance just before we get your Direct Debit each month. On the Billing screen, you’ll see the amount of interest you've earned during each current billing period.
It’s also good to know that while we give you interest when you're in credit, we'll never charge you interest when you have a negative balance.
How meter readings affect your account balance
There’s one way to make sure your bills are as accurate as possible – through regular meter readings. They make sure you only get billed for the energy you're actually using!
Smart meters are making meter reading much easier. If you already have a smart meter, there’s usually no need to give regular readings, as they’re sent automatically (though there are some situations where you may still need to send a manual reading).
Find out more about smart meters, and how to read your gas and electricity meter.
If you don’t yet have a smart meter, and you haven’t sent a meter reading recently, your live account balance might not yet show any energy costs for the current billing period. Which means your positive balance might look higher than you’d expect.
In this case, the Interest Reward amount you’ve earned might actually be higher than your standing charges (remember: we haven’t added energy costs yet), so it “cancels out” those charges – and we show any excess amount as a credit going in (£ in).
This could typically happen at the start of a new billing period. It’s nothing to worry about. As soon as we get a meter reading from you (or we add estimated charges):
- Your live balance will update
- Your charges will again show as an amount going out (£ out)
- We’ll work out your Interest Reward going forward, taking into account what we’ve already paid you
And learn more about how to read your actual energy bill, with our guide to understanding all the different parts of it
How can I find out if I have a positive balance?
If you manage your bills online, you can check your current account balance by logging in.
Or, just take a look at your latest energy bill – which should tell you whether you have a positive balance (or “credit”) or negative balance (or “debit”).
What if I have a positive balance with my last supplier?
Sometimes, credit is left behind by customers who’ve moved address, switched supplier, or left unclaimed credit some other way. Energy companies have a system in place to give back “energy credit” to customers – but it’s also possible to apply for a credit repayment, no matter when your account was closed – as long as there’s proof you were a former customer.
How can I get a refund from my previous energy supplier?
Energy companies are supposed to give back any credit on positive balances when you switch to another supplier – but it doesn’t always happen automatically.
If you think this might be the case, check your bank statements, Direct Debits or energy bills, and then contact your previous supplier to discuss.
What if my supplier refuses to refund me?
If your supplier refuses to refund you and you don't agree with the decision, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman. They’ll assess your complaint and help if they can.
Why am I in credit? Is my supplier taking too much from my Direct Debit?
Your Direct Debit amount is based on your previous or estimated energy use. That means it may not accurately cover your actual use.
If you’re using less energy than budgeted for, you’ll be overpaying on your Direct Debit. Here at OVO, that’s not a big problem, for 2 reasons:
- The extra amount will come in handy to cover higher winter bills
- You’ll earn 3-5% Interest Rewards on any positive balance
How can I get an energy refund from my current supplier?
At OVO, there are 3 main scenarios when you might want to ask for a refund, if there’s credit in your account:
- If you’re switching to a different energy company
- If you’re moving to a new home
- If you’re staying with OVO and have extra credit in your account
To find out more about the process in each case, visit our refunds help page
What can I do to make sure my bills are as accurate as possible?
If you don’t yet have a smart meter, you’ll need to submit regular meter readings to us. Doing that will help keep your bills more accurate – as we’ll know exactly how much energy you’re using, rather than making an estimate.
How can I make my energy bills lower?
We’re here to support our members with bright ideas for keeping your bills – and your impact on the world – as low as possible. Check out some of our guides to saving energy, lowering bills, and cutting your carbon footprint:
- How to reduce your carbon footprint at home
- Why is my gas and electricity bill so high – and what to do about it?
- What’s the ideal room temperature for your home?
- How to reduce electric and gas bills in 8 simple steps
- The ultimate guide to being efficient with heating and hot water
- 120 ways to save and conserve energy, for a greener planet
If you need more help
You can get answers from our members in the OVO Community. And if you don't find the answers you need, feel free to ask a question and one of our members can help.
Upgrade to OVO Beyond
As an OVO member, you already get 100% renewable electricity, a tree planted every year in your name, and 3-5% Interest Rewards. But if you’re ready to take a step up in caring for the planet, check out OVO Beyond, our green upgrade.
With OVO Beyond you get all the same benefits as now – plus:
- 100% carbon-neutral energy1. That’s 100% renewable electricity from sources like the wind and sun.
- Plus, 100% carbon-neutral gas, including 15% green gas (one of the best mixes around!2). We offset the rest.
- Not 1, but 5 carbon-busting trees planted in the UK on your behalf3
- Free access to OVO Greenlight, with personalised energy-saving tips, to help you cut carbon – and your bills!
Plus, you’ll be supporting our carbon-offsetting projects that:
- Save rainforests in Guatemala
- Plant trees in Uganda
And you’ll also be giving kids in the UK more fresh air in urban areas, by supporting our charity partner Earthwatch Europe. They’re planting 8 Tiny Forests across our nation – which covers an area the size of 8 tennis courts with 600 trees.
Find out more about OVO Beyond
Sources and references
1. Enjoy even greener energy with OVO Beyond in comparison with our standard OVO plans. In addition to 100% renewable electricity as available with our standard plans, OVO Beyond reduces your yearly carbon emissions from the energy used in your home that is supplied by OVO to net zero by providing 100% carbon-neutral gas (15% green gas and 85% offset) and offsetting all associated lifecycle carbon emissions involved in the production and consumption of your electricity & gas, you will also get 5 trees per year in UK schools and communities and other green benefits. The renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates and how these work. The green gas we sell is backed via renewable certificates (Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin and how these work. We offset the remaining emissions by supporting UN REDD+ carbon reduction projects that are certified to the Verified Carbon Standard or the Gold Standard. See here for more information on how we restore nature and protect rainforests with our offsetting programmes.
2. OVO Energy's Green Gas is made up of 15% green gas, with the remaining 85% offset to make your gas carbon-neutral. As of 31st July 2020, the proportion of biogas offered vs. the amount offset was higher than all other providers who share details of their green gas offering, except Green Energy UK - and that's something we're pretty proud of. The green gas we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin and how these work. We offset the remaining emissions by supporting UN REDD+ carbon reduction projects that are certified to the Verified Carbon Standard.
3. OVO plants 5 trees for every OVO Beyond member through our award-winning I Dig Trees programme with The Conservation Volunteers. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so tree-planting helps to slow down climate change. Since 2015 we have planted over 1 million trees.