Watchdog orders energy companies to reduce their price rises as it emerges customers have been overcharged by £24.1 BILLION for maintenance work

Households have been overcharged by £24.1billion for utilities because of failures by regulators, a charity claims.

Citizens Advice says Government watchdogs have allowed a number of companies which build and maintain pipes, wires and connections to impose unfair price rises.

Now it wants the businesses to deliver rebates voluntarily – or face being forced to do so by the Government.

Citizens Advice claims regulators Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom used flawed assumptions and calculations about costs, borrowing money and inflation when approving price rises.

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Bills for energy, water, broadband and phone networks rose higher than necessary, while companies collected billions in profits, the charity argues.

Action by Ofwat is said to have reduced bills £435million and it has made clear that water firms can expect lower price rises and returns from 2020. 

Ofgem has confirmed it will limit network company returns over five years starting in 2021.

But Citizens Advice claims the measures do not provide redress for households – and is demanding refunds.