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What's an erroneous transfer?

An erroneous transfer is when an energy supplier tries to take over a gas or electricity supply by mistake. Read on to see how this happens and how to sort it.

So you’ve had a letter or email saying that you’re switching – but you haven’t asked to change energy suppliers? It sounds like you might have ended up subject to what’s called an ‘erroneous transfer’.  This basically means that the energy company is switching you in error – by mistake.

This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Your details have ended up the energy supplier by mistake – this is more common if you live in a flat or new-build
  • Your meter details are incorrect on the national database that energy companies use
  • There’s been a human or systems error at the energy company
  • In very rare cases, your details may have been used fraudulently to apply for a switch

However it’s happened, the energy companies involved will put things right as quickly as possible, with no cost to you. This is because we’ve all signed up for something called the Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter.

This voluntary code of conduct means that all electricity and gas suppliers promise to protect you if they switch your account by mistake.

What to expect if you’ve been accidentally switched

  • You need to tell your old and new supplier that you think you might have been switched by mistake
  • They – or we – should say sorry and make the next steps clear
  • If you’re being switched to OVO, we’ll make sure you’ve had a letter or email about what happens next within 5 working days
  • Then we’ll make sure that you’re switched back to your old supplier within 20 days
  • If you’re actually quite happy to be switched, that’s fine too – but do tell us when you first get in touch, so we don’t start the process to switch you back to your old supplier

Bills and erroneous transfers

Wondering ‘who do I pay for my energy while an Erroneous Transfer is taking place’?

Your old supplier, as normal. We’ll take care of the financial side of things between us – you should never end up out of pocket.

Other resources

If you’re unhappy with how we’re managing an erroneous transfer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 5999 440.

If you think that your transfer might have been instigated fraudulently, please visit Citizens Advice to learn more about your rights and possible compensation. 

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