Struggling with your energy bills?

Plug the Debt is an initiative aiming to raise awareness of what to do if you fall behind with your energy bills.  Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice have devised a list of ‘top five’ tips for coping with energy bills:

  1. Always contact your energy supplier as soon as you realise you might have trouble with paying- your supplier has a responsibility to help you if you have problems paying your bill.
  2. Tell your energy firm what you can afford to pay – they have to take this into account in agreeing repayments of the money you owe.
  3. Ask your energy company, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 to find out about other free help available.
  4. Even if you are in debt you may still be able to switch to a cheaper deal with your current supplier. If you pay by pre-payment meter and have less than £200 of debt you could switch to a cheaper deal with another supplier.
  5. Financial help is available which could make it easier to afford your bills - check you are receiving all of the benefits and tax credits you are entitled to by getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau or visit the advice guide website.

You may also be entitled to other discounts and rebates such as:

  • Warm Home Discount 
    This is funded by the larger energy companies, this will provide a £135 rebate on your electricity bills in winter 2013/14 if you are:

• Under 75 in receipt of the Guaranteed Element of Pension Credit only; or

• Over 75 in receipt of the Guaranteed Element of Pension Credit; or

• Over 75 and receive both the Guaranteed and Savings Elements of Pension Credit

  • Winter Fuel Payment 
    This is a tax-free payment from the Government for older people. It’s not means tested and the amount you get depends upon your age and your personal situation.
  • Cold Weather Payment 
    This is paid automatically to certain households on welfare benefits during spells of very cold weather between 1st November and 31st March.