ENERGY firms were last night accused of ripping off customers by refusing to pass on £3billion in wholesale price drops.
Campaigners are furious that bosses are raking in extra cash instead of slashing bills.
The regulator Ofgem was also branded a “toothless tiger” as millions struggle with payments.
The comments came as thousands of people across Britain have switched off their central heating during the mild weather while sky-high direct debit payments remain unchanged.
Wholesale gas prices have plunged almost 50% in the past two years with electricity down 30%.
This should equate to a 23% reduction in gas bills while shaving 10% from the average electricity outlay.
However bills have stayed relatively unchanged since 2013, leaving 17 million homes paying a total of £3billion a year more than they should.
With customers still shelling out set payments for heating, despite unusually warm temperatures, energy suppliers have come under fire for not slashing bills.
Experts at energyhelpline claim the average household should have benefited from savings of around £172 off the average £1,200 household dual fuel bill.
Director Mark Todd said it was time for customers and regulator Ofgem to get tough on suppliers.
He said although customers are entitled to rebates on any overspend, they often spent months waiting for money to be returned.
He explained: “Over the next year if nothing changes suppliers will make £3billion by not passing on these massive wholesale price drops. Ofgem is not doing enough to put pressure on the energy companies. They are very much a toothless tiger in this respect.”
Energy giants including the big six – British Gas, E.ON, NPower, SSE, Scottish Power and EDF Energy – have passed on just £30 on average.
Mr Todd urged bill payers to pester their suppliers for a rebate and push for lower direct debit payments over the next year.
He said: “We think 2016 should be the year energy suppliers pass on savings that are fair to customers.”
An Ofgem spokeswoman said although there is no set time on how long suppliers can take to reimburse customers it should be “in a timely manner”.
A spokesman for Energy UK said: “Energy suppliers do pass on falls in costs but there can be a time lag as they paid – mainly for gas – at a time when prices were higher.”
Ofgem recently fined NPower £26million for “diabolical customer service”.