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Worried about your energy bills? Smart Energy have some advice...

20 October 2021

We understand that the current challenges in the energy market will have affected a lot of people and could be particularly challenging. If you’re worried about your energy bills or falling into debt, you’re not alone. And there are things you can do to help your situation.

Four steps to avoid fuel debt are:

  1. Improve the energy efficiency of your home
  2. Check that you are claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to
  3. If you are unable to pay your bill, contact your supplier and let them know
  4. Provide your supplier with a monthly meter reading to ensure you receive an accurate bill – or request a smart meter to help with this.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND USAGE

It’s important that you use the energy you need to keep warm, safe and healthy at home. And making small changes in how you do this can often have a big impact on bills. Simple Energy Advice can provide help in managing this. This site includes energy efficiency advice as well as tips on how to reduce your energy usage.

Smart meters could also help you to find ways to reduce energy waste around the home and save money. The in-home display shows you in near-real time the amount of energy being used in pounds and pence, allowing you to keep a closer eye on your energy spending habits.

WARM HOME DISCOUNT

The Warm Home Discount scheme is a programme that offers support with energy costs to low income vulnerable households. All of the main energy suppliers are required to participate in the scheme and a number of other electricity suppliers participate on a voluntary basis.

This year, eligible households could get a £140 discount on their electricity bills. Householders wishing to enquire about the Warm Home Discount eligibility criteria should contact their energy supplier here.

BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT CHECK

Contact the organisations listed in the ‘Sources of support and advice’ section below to get a benefit entitlement check and debt support. These organisations can also help you to access specific grants and trust funds which some energy suppliers provide to give additional support to some of their most vulnerable customers. These trust funds can help clear energy debt and assist with other essential household costs.

IF YOU CANNOT PAY YOUR BILL

If you are in debt to your energy supplier and struggling to get on top of it, then speak to your supplier as soon as possible. If they know there is a problem, they can work with you to find a solution. There are different options available, one is to ask to set up a payment plan and be realistic about what you can afford to repay. You don’t want to leave yourself short for other essential bills.

CHECK YOUR ENERGY BILLS AND PROVIDE ACCURATE METER READINGS

Take regular meter readings and submit them to your energy supplier - this will help you keep an eye on your energy use and keep your bills accurate. You can find guidance on taking meter readings here

You can also ask your energy supplier for a smart meter. They enable accurate, not estimated bills – meaning you only pay for what you use. They also send your meter readings securely to your energy supplier, so you don’t have to.

SOURCES OF SUPPORT AND ADVICE

These organisations can help with debt assistance and benefits advice:

Programme

How can they help?

Contact details

NEA’s Warm and Safe at Home service

The NEA’s Warm and Safe at Home service offers free support service providing advice to householders on your energy bills and keeping warm in your home. They can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation.

You can call 0800 138 8218.
Or you can visit the NEA’s Warm and Safe Homes Advice Service website.

 

StepChange Debt Charity

The StepChange Debt Charity provides free independent debt advice.

Please call 0800 138 1111 for advice.
Or you can visit the StepChange Debt Charity website.

National Debtline

The National Debtline can offer free independent debt advice.

You can call 0808 808 4000
Alternatively please visit the National Debtline website.

The Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service provides free impartial money advice to help improve your finances.

Please call 0800 138 7777 for more information.
Or you can visit The Money Advice Service website.

Citizens Advice Debt Helpline

The Citizens Advice Debt Helpline offers free advice for all types of debt and money guidance.

Call 0800 240 4420 for more information.
Alternatively, please visit the Citizens Advice Debt Helpline website.

Turn2Us

Turn2Us help people in financial need to identify local benefit advisors and grant support.

You can call 0808 802 2000 to identify support in your area.
Or you can visit the Turn2Us website.

PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER

It’s really important that both your supplier and Distribution Network Operator (DNO) know if you are in a vulnerable situation, so they can include you on their priority services register. This includes people who are of pensionable age, have children under 5, have a disability or longterm medical condition.

Being on the register means that you will be prioritised in the event of a power cut and you will receive additional non-financial services such as password security or information in different formats. If you have difficulty contacting your supplier you can register with your DNO first and when prompted give permission for your data to be shared with your gas and electricity supplier. Find your DNO’s contact details on your fuel bill here.

 


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