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Energy users must send a meter reading today to avoid being overbilled, charities have warned, as suppliers prepare to push up the cost of gas and electricity from tomorrow.
April's rise in the energy price cap will see bills for the average home climb from £1,277 to £1,971 a year, a rise of 54pc.
Submitting a reading today will ensure that energy companies have an accurate picture of households' usage before the higher rates come in, Gillian Cooper of Citizens Advice said. It will also make it easier for customers to contest bills they think are wrong.
But customers hoping to trim their bills by submitting readings today found the websites of most major suppliers had crashed due to the demand.
Comparison service Uswitch advised customers to leave it as late in the day as possible before they send a reading to ensure that as much of their energy use as possible is calculated under the old rates.
Uswitch's Justina Miltienyte said: “While there is nothing you can do to reduce the actual cost of energy, regularly submitting meter readings to your supplier is a good habit to get into, as it can help to ensure you are paying only for the amount of energy you are using.”
This comes after the Telegraph disclosed that households' direct debits had increased by more than 100pc during the winter.
Recent research by Resolver, a complaints service, found that the number of householders who believe they have been incorrectly charged for energy has risen by almost a third this year. The firm recorded a 30pc rise in complaints against energy suppliers for sending incorrect bills in the first two months of the year.
It comes after 4.5 million customers were forced to move supplier when a string of energy companies collapsed last year.