Customers of Npower face getting a surprise late bill through the post as the energy giant tries to resolve its billing backlog. The regulator Ofgem has attacked the company for a 400,000 backlog of bills that had not been processed.
And so it must now reduce its backlog to 100,000 bills by the end of August or it will have to stop sales to new customers, meaning households may have to find extra cash to pay for an unexpected bill.
But there is hope for some customers.
Npower has said it would no longer send bills to customers who left it more than six months ago and to domestic customers if the bills go back 12 months or more, if the company itself was to blame for the delay.
And customers who have already paid a bill for energy used more than a year ago will be receiving a refund.
The company has hired 650 more people since December to try to resolve the problems with its computer system which has caused the backlog.
It has also said it would be investing an extra £20 million this year to help improve customer service.
Npower chief executive Paul Massara has written to all of the company’s customers to apologise for the poor level of service it had been providing.
He added: “I want to reiterate again that our customers should not lose out financially as a direct result of our billing system problems and that if customers are worried about a high bill we’ll work with them to reach a suitable payment plan.”