In the South West, thousands of people are struggling with the cost of utilities, such as gas, electricity or water. In fact, it’s one of the most common types of debt we see. Last year, over a third of those we helped had fallen behind with bill payments. But we offer quality, face-to-face advice to stop this happening – and ensure people aren’t cut off from their supplies of vital services.
Utility providers have announced some help if you’re struggling to pay for gas, electricity or water.
Gas & Electric Bills
If you’re going to have trouble paying your gas or electricity bill, dig out a recent copy of your bill for details of the number to call to talk to your provider. They will be able to tell you about ways you can make affordable repayments and they should also check if you’re on the best tariff for your needs. It’s also possible to switch providers even if you’re in arrears to get a better tariff.
Whatever your situation, now is a good time to think about switching as you could get a better deal with another energy company.
If you have a prepayment meter, you will receive help if you’re not able to top it up.
This will include credit being sent though the post, money being automatically added to your meter and companies sending people out on your behalf to top your meter up.
If you’re struggling to pay your bill, you will receive support and no meter disconnections will take place.
Water companies have put extra support in place if you’re worried about paying your water bill because you’ve lost your job or had your income cut because of coronavirus.
Support will depend on your circumstances and includes:
- payment breaks or payment holidays
- special schemes, such as social tariffs
- adjusting your payment plan to cope with a drop in household finances
- offering advice on benefits and managing debts, particularly if you have not been in financial difficulties before
- stopping new court applications on unpaid bills during the current restrictions and stopping any enforcement action.
The water companies will also be offering different ways to pay your bill if you’re unable to leave the house because you’re self-isolating.
To find out what your supplier can offer, get in touch as soon as you can and before you’ve missed a payment. Contact details and further information will be on their website or on your bill.