Don’t suffer in silence, you maybe entitled to help
Utility Debt: A guide to getting back in the black
Do you have problems paying your utility bills? Are you in debt and can’t see how you can pay? Then we’re here to help. Take action to deal with your utility bill debt and get in contact with us today. We will offer you all the help and support you need. Simply complete the form, and we’ll get back to you, alternatively, you can call 01242 32 31 31.
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What can I do if I’m in utility debt?
Sometimes it can be difficult enough to make ends meet when you have so many bills to pay. Your mortgage repayments, rent, not to mention your food and travel – it all adds up. But when you are faced with the rising cost of gas and electricity and other utility bills, your expenditures can spiral out of control until you find yourself with utility bill debts you cannot afford to pay.
Getting into any form of debt can be extremely worrying for anyone, but if you are a pensioner, if you have long-term health problems, you are disabled, or you have serious financial problems, then you could be feeling particularly vulnerable if you get in debt with your utility provider.
Talk to your supplier – they may be able to help you by offering information on how you can pay, such as setting up a repayment plan so you can pay back your energy debt gradually. They should do this under their code of practice. If you’re on benefits, you could arrange to pay off your utility debt by way of small weekly deductions from your benefit payments, known as third party deductions.
If you’re facing the prospect of being disconnected, your supplier may suggest that you switch to a prepayment meter, which allows you to pay off your energy debt at the same time as you pay for the utilities you use using a token. They might suggest a key or smartcard that you ‘top-up’ like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone, which will ensure you don’t fall further in debt.
If you belong to a vulnerable group, then there are extra measures in place to protect you against being disconnected. For instance, to help protect consumers in vulnerable situations, Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, an independent National Regulatory Authority) has a Consumer Vulnerability Strategy to ensure that energy suppliers take ‘all reasonable steps’ to ensure that a customer can pay.
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What help is available?
The Government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help you to help if you have debts on your gas, electricity or water bills.
The Government’s Energy Saving Trust (EST) offers advice on grants and energy saving tips to people struggling to pay their bills and keep warm.
Some providers offer an energy fund scheme. British Gas Energy Trust, EDF Energy Trust, E.on Energy Fund, Npower Energy Fund can offer grants to help cover energy debts.
If you have utility bill debt, it is important that you take action now to get it sorted out. You can start the process by calling us on 01242 32 31 31 or by completing the form on this page. We can give you the support you need to get your debts sorted.
Can I switch if I am in debt?
If you owe your energy supplier less then £500 you may be able to switch suppliers.