Our energy expert

Difficulty With Paying Your Bills

What to do when you need help with your bills.

What should I do if I have difficulty paying my gas or electricity bills?

If you think that you will run into problems paying your energy bills, then you should contact your gas or electricity supplier as soon as possible to discuss your situation and possible options.

How will my energy supplier be able to help?

Energy suppliers are required to offer you help and advice if you have difficulties paying your bills, and should be sympathetic to your situation. They should discuss with you alternative ways for you to pay your bill. This could involve one of the following options.

- Arranging a plan whereby the outstanding debt is cleared in instalments.

- Installing a pre-payment meter. Each time you credit the meter, some of the credit is used to pay off the debt.

- Agreeing to take deductions directly from your social security benefits, if you receive such benefits.

- Providing you with information on how to reduce your bills by using energy more efficiently.

If I can't pay my bill, could I be disconnected?

Energy suppliers should, and normally will, make every effort to avoid having to disconnect customers. However, if you are in debt to an energy supplier and you refuse to accept any arrangements they put forward to clear the debt, then you could be disconnected until such time as a debt repayment plan is agreed.

Energy suppliers are committed not to disconnect elderly, disabled or chronically ill customers during the winter months. So watch out for the first day of spring!

What else can I do?

If you have difficulty paying your bills and are not satisfied with the way that your supplier has handled your situation, then you should contact Consumer Focus. They will offer you advice and assistance, but probably not money.

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