What to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills

3rd December 2021 is the National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, arranged by the charity National Energy Action (NEA).

Over 4 million homes in the UK live in fuel poverty. This is true for 10.7% of Portsmouth households.

The cost of inefficient homes and heating systems means that householders have to choose between staying warm and essentials like food and clothes. Research shows that 1 in 5 people have used less heating in the last 3 months to save money.

Energy bills are also set to rise in April, with some households facing bills doubled in price since the last year.

Switched On Portsmouth is a service for you to help you reduce your energy bills and save money. We want to reduce the level of fuel poverty in the city. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you can get in touch with us via our freephone adviceline for impartial and friendly advice:

0800 260 5907 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

You can also read our handy guide below.

If you’re struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills, you should contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.

Your supplier has to help you find a solution that works well for you. If you don’t get in touch with your supplier and you are in lots of debt, they could threaten to disconnect your supply.

Energy debts are considered a ‘Priority Debt’, which means you need to pay them before other debts like credit cards.

Agree a payment plan with your supplier

You can arrange to pay your debts to your supplier in instalments over a fixed period of time. These amounts will cover what you owe, and an amount for your current use.

When arranging this plan, make sure to tell your supplier how much you can afford to pay.
Give them details on your income, outgoings, other debts and any relevant personal circumstances

Example payment plan

You owe your supplier £400 in debts. Instead of paying this in one chunk you get in touch with your supplier and tell them that the most you can afford weekly is £40. They agree to take £10 a week to cover your debt, and £30 a week to cover your current energy use until the debt is paid off.

Pay your debt through your benefits

You might be able to use the Fuel Direct Scheme to pay off your debt. A fixed amount will be automatically taken from your benefits to cover the debt and your current usage.

To be eligible, you must be receiving one of the below:

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (only if you’re not working)

Contact the Jobcentre and let them know you want to set up this payment plan. They’ll contact your supplier for you to get their agreement. Your supplier will then set up the repayments and let you know how much you’ll be paying.

If you don’t come to an agreement

If you cannot agree on a payment plan with your supplier, they might arrange to have a prepayment meter installed instead.

Help and assistance

If you’re struggling to come to an agreement with your supplier, contact one of our friendly energy advisors via our freephone number:

0800 260 5907

(Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

3rd December 2021 is the National Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, arranged by the charity National Energy Action (NEA).

Over 4 million homes in the UK live in fuel poverty. This is true for 10.7% of Portsmouth households.

The cost of inefficient homes and heating systems means that householders have to choose between staying warm and essentials like food and clothes. Research shows that 1 in 5 people have used less heating in the last 3 months to save money.

Energy bills are also set to rise in April, with some households facing bills doubled in price since the last year.

Switched On Portsmouth is a service for you to help you reduce your energy bills and save money. We want to reduce the level of fuel poverty in the city. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you can get in touch with us via our freephone adviceline for impartial and friendly advice:

0800 260 5907 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

You can also read our handy guide below.

If you’re struggling to pay your gas and electricity bills, you should contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them.

Your supplier has to help you find a solution that works well for you. If you don’t get in touch with your supplier and you are in lots of debt, they could threaten to disconnect your supply.

Energy debts are considered a ‘Priority Debt’, which means you need to pay them before other debts like credit cards.

Agree a payment plan with your supplier

You can arrange to pay your debts to your supplier in instalments over a fixed period of time. These amounts will cover what you owe, and an amount for your current use.

When arranging this plan, make sure to tell your supplier how much you can afford to pay.
Give them details on your income, outgoings, other debts and any relevant personal circumstances

Example payment plan

You owe your supplier £400 in debts. Instead of paying this in one chunk you get in touch with your supplier and tell them that the most you can afford weekly is £40. They agree to take £10 a week to cover your debt, and £30 a week to cover your current energy use until the debt is paid off.

Pay your debt through your benefits

You might be able to use the Fuel Direct Scheme to pay off your debt. A fixed amount will be automatically taken from your benefits to cover the debt and your current usage.

To be eligible, you must be receiving one of the below:

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (only if you’re not working)

Contact the Jobcentre and let them know you want to set up this payment plan. They’ll contact your supplier for you to get their agreement. Your supplier will then set up the repayments and let you know how much you’ll be paying.

If you don’t come to an agreement

If you cannot agree on a payment plan with your supplier, they might arrange to have a prepayment meter installed instead.

Help and assistance

If you’re struggling to come to an agreement with your supplier, contact one of our friendly energy advisors via our freephone number:

0800 260 5907

(Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)