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Complex bills cost families €220 extra

HOUSEHOLDERS can find utility bills "too complex" to decipher, a money advice group said today as it emerged families could be overcharged by up to €220 a year.

People are so confused about how household bills are put together that they have no idea if they are being overcharged.

Only half of consumers say they are able to check their bills for accuracy.

This leaves thousands of homeowners vulnerable to being overcharged for utilities such as electricity, gas, telephone and broadband services, according to the price comparison service uSwitch.

Almost two-thirds of people say their electricity and gas bills are not easy to check.



"When people come to us with disconnections we would scrutinise the bill with them. A bill can appear to people very complex, particularly with the different charges," Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) spokesman Michael Culloty told the Herald.

He said if the general public is finding it difficult to ascertain errors, then the "way the bills are constructed are still too complex to ascertain any mistakes that are inherent in them".

Head of uSwitch.ie Eoin Clarke said the findings had prompted fears that up to seven out of 10 householders were being overcharged here.

A spokesman for the energy regulator said it had no evidence that customers were being systematically overcharged for their electricity or gas supply.