Help with energy bills announced by the British government – Which one? News
As of today, all energy suppliers have agreed on emergency measures to help customers most at risk during the coronavirus crisis.
These include ensuring that customers in vulnerable situations will not have their energy supply cut off while they self-isolate, and additional support for prepaid and pay-per-view customers.
Any energy customer in financial difficulty will be supported by their energy supplier, the government has promised.
Keep reading to find out how it affects you, as well as other ways to lower your energy bills if you’re spending more time at home.
Switching energy supplier can save you around £300 a year – compare gas and electricity prices with which? Switch to get a quote based on your household’s gas and electricity usage.
Can I get help paying my energy bills?
If you are struggling to pay your gas or electricity bill because of the coronavirus outbreak, the new measures announced by the government come into effect today.
Any customer in financial difficulty will be taken care of by his supplier, specifies the government. Different options will be offered by different energy companies, but could include:
- Your debt payments are reassessed, reduced or suspended
- Your bill payments are reassessed, reduced or suspended.
Companies will not be allowed to disconnect credit meters.
Customers already known to need assistance will be prioritized for assistance, but energy companies will also work to identify customers whose circumstances may have changed as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.
It is essential that you contact your supplier if you are having difficulty covering your energy bill and that you do not simply cancel your monthly charge.
You can keep up to date with our latest advice on the coronavirus outbreak on our coronavirus advice hub.
Prepaid and prepaid customers: what you need to know
If you have a prepayment meter and you are unable to recharge it, contact your supplier immediately. He will discuss options on how he can keep you on supply.
This may include:
- Designate someone else to top up for you
- Have a discretionary fund added to your credit
- Sending a preloaded recharge card.
If you need someone to top up the meter for you, energy regulator Ofgem recommends that you leave your meter box unlocked.
If you have a smart meter, you should be able to top up by phone, mobile app, or online. Check your provider’s website to find out how to set it up, or contact them for help.
What are the biggest energy companies doing to help their customers?
Here’s what some energy providers have committed to so far to help their customers during this time:
|Supplier||What do they do?||How to get help?|
|British gas||If you’re isolated and can’t top up online, call or use live chat to discuss your options. If you are struggling to pay your bills, British Gas will look for ways to help you on a case-by-case basis. Contact him for more information or to verify UK Gas FAQs||Call 0333 202 9802|
|bulb energy||In some cases, Bulb Energy will be able to arrange remote charging for you or send a pre-charged card/key. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, Bulb can offer alternative payment methods and longer repayment periods. You can also go to Bulb Help Center||Call 0300 30 30 635|
|EDF Energy||EDF applies a non-disconnection policy on most meters. So if you run out of credit after 6 p.m., your electricity won’t turn off until 9 a.m. the next day. If you’re worried about paying your bill, contact them to discuss options. Each case will be reviewed individually, but additional support may include refunds made over a longer period, delaying payment for a short period, or offering alternative payment terms. Go to its personalized priority services to obtain information on additional support for vulnerable customers. You can also visit EDF Energy FAQs||Call 0333 200 5110|
|Eon||Eon has extended emergency credit levels for gas customers with conventional prepayment meters from £5 to £30. From April 1, it will increase to £50, but this credit will need to be repaid in order to restore energy supplies to customers. Eon said he would not disconnect anyone during this period for non-payment of energy bills. If you’re having trouble paying your bill, contact Eon and he’ll discuss your options based on your situation. Options include the ability to grant an additional 30-day break to make payments. Read more on Eon FAQs||Call 0345 052 0000|
|Npower||Npower reassures credit customers that it will not disconnect you during this period for non-payment of energy bills. If you are having trouble paying your bill, contact Npower to discuss your options. This may involve spreading your bills by direct debit over the year or the possibility of granting yourself 30 additional days of respite. If you self-isolate and cannot top up your meter, contact Npower for assistance. He is in the process of increasing the emergency credit to £45 and studying how best to get emergency keys for people who need them. Find out more via Npower FAQs||Call 0800 073 3000|
|Ovo Energy||Ovo customers who need it the most and are eligible for support will be able to contact customer service directly for emergency top-up credit or temporary payment reductions on their monthly payments. You can also check FAQ Ovo Energy||Call 0330 303 5063|
|Scottish power||If you are isolated and need to recharge, or are struggling to pay your bill, contact Scottish Power for help. Some solutions include revising monthly payments, having more time to pay, or supporting the Scottish Power Hardship Fund. You can also check Scottish Food FAQs||Call 0800 027 0072|
|Shell Energy||If you are concerned about payments, contact Shell Energy to discuss your options, which could include agreeing to an installment debt repayment plan, agreeing to a regular installment plan for future bills and ongoing energy consumption, short-term payment deferral, or assistance through the Fuel Direct program. Vulnerable clients can also register for priority services to see if they are eligible for further assistance. Learn more about Shell Energy FAQs||Call 03300945800|
|SSE||If you are having trouble paying, contact SSE to discuss your options. If you self-isolate and cannot top up your meter, SSE may offer you temporary credit or reduce the payments you make through your meter. Read more information about SSE FAQ||Call 0345 070 7373|
|Usefulness||If you’re worried about your supply, Utilita offers Emergency Credit and Friendly Credit benefits. Learn more about Utility FAQ||Use their online chat or Facebook.|
|Utility warehouse||Utility Warehouse advises customers to top up extra in the event of the unexpected, identify a trusted third party who can collect their energy card/key and bring it to a store to recharge it on their behalf and un know where they can recharge in case their usual charging location closes in the short term. You can contact Utility Warehouse for further advice if needed.||Call 0333 777 3247|
“Hardup Energy customers will breathe a sigh of relief that these new emergency measures will protect them from high bills and the loss of their energy supply during these uncertain times,” said Natalie Hitchins, product and services manager for the House.
“If you are worried about your ability to pay your energy bill due to the impact of coronavirus on your situation, it is important to speak to your supplier as soon as possible to discuss your situation and find out what type of support he can give you. ‘
Other ways to save money on gas and electricity
Spending more time at home will likely lead to higher energy bills and you will use more gas and electricity. Try these quick tips to keep your bills under control:
- Use your heating controls to warm your home, only use water when you need it, and only heat the parts of your home you use
- Replace traditional bulbs with energy saving light bulbs
- Give your supplier regular meter readings (unless you have a smart meter to ensure you only pay for the gas and electricity you use
- Cut drafts around windows, doors and attic hatches
- Go paperless if you’re happy to receive your invoices by email or online account – some providers will offer a discount for this.
- Only run your Washing machine and Dishwasher when full, and dry clean outdoors if possible.