Paying Utility Bills
Wed 22 Apr 2020
Paying Energy Bills
What help is available from energy providers?
The Government and energy suppliers have launched an emergency package, to make sure anyone vulnerable doesn’t suffer hardship with heating or lighting their homes during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you’re struggling to pay for your gas or electricity, you may have the following options to help:
- support reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
- take payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
- providers may give you more time to pay
- receive access to hardship funds
The Government has reassured energy customers that no credit meters will be disconnected during the coronavirus outbreak.
What happens if I can’t go out to top up my prepayment meter?
If you’re unable to top up your meter you should contact your supplier as soon as possible to discuss how you can stay connected. You’ll find their contact details on their website or on your bill. This includes if you can’t get to a shop because you’re ill with coronavirus or following guidance to stay at home and self-isolate.
Here are some options which could help to keep you supplied:
- asking a friend or family member to top up your prepayment card for you
- having discretionary funds added to your account
- receive a preloaded top-up card in the post
If your meter is outside, Ofgem recommends leaving your meter box unlocked, if this can be done safely. That means someone else can top it up for you. Where possible, arrange for a family member, friend or neighbour to take your top-up card to the shop. Please make sure it’s been sanitised first though, to avoid risk to others.
If you’ve run out of credit and need gas or electricity urgently, contact your supplier to ask for temporary extra credit. You’ll need to pay back any credit your supplier gives you – ask them when and how you’ll need to do this.
If you have a prepayment meter because you’re repaying a debt to your supplier, you can ask them to reduce the amount you repay each week.
Contact details for the main energy providers:
- • British Gas – 0333 202 9802
- • EDF – 0333 200 5100
- • E.ON – 0345 052 000
- • N Power – 0800 073 3000
- • Scottish Power – 0800 027 0072
- • SSE – 0345 026 2658
- • OVO Energy – 0330 303 5063
- • Shell Energy – 0330 0945802
- • Coop Energy (powered by Octopus Energy) – 0808 164 1088
- • Octopus Energy – 0808 164 1088
Further advice can be found on the Citizens Advice Website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/you-cant-afford-to-top-up-your-prepayment-meter/
Paying Water Bills
Priority Service Register:
If you (or a family member) are vulnerable in any way, have a disability, mobility issue, chronic illness or medical condition, then the water companies encouraging you to join their Priority Service Register. This means that if you experience an issue with your water, they will give you all the support you need.
- Severn Trent customers visit: https://www.stwater.co.uk/get-in-touch/join-our-priority-services-register/ or call: 0800 0854986
- South Staffs Water customers visit: https://www.south-staffs-water.co.uk/household/extra-help/priority-services-register or call: 0800 389 1011
Problems Paying your Bills
The water companies also have various schemes available to help their customers who are having problems paying their bills.
- Severn Trent customers visit: https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-account/help-when-you-need-it/help-with-paying-your-bill/ or call: 0345 7500 500
- South Staffs Water customers visit: https://www.south-staffs-water.co.uk/household/extra-help/help-with-paying or call: 0800 09 30 610
Reminder: If you do find yourself without toilet paper and need to use an alternative, please make sure you dispose of it properly by bagging it and binning it. Things like kitchen roll and wipes don’t breakdown like toilet paper does and can lead to a nasty blockage causing sewage to back up into your home.