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Struggling with the rising cost of energy? From grants to tailor-made payment plans, here’s what suppliers are doing to help.
If you’re finding it hard to keep up with the rising cost of gas and electricity, don’t panic. Energy suppliers are aware that many simply don’t have enough money coming in to pay bills, meaning various forms of support are available. Read on for a supplier-by-supplier breakdown of the help on offer if you’re struggling to pay for your energy.
On top of the options listed below, don’t forget about the Warm Home Discount scheme, which offers those struggling to pay their energy bills an annual payment of up to £150. Whether you’re eligible and how you apply varies, depending on whether you live in England and Wales or Scotland – check the government's scheme online to see how to claim.
The UK’s biggest energy supplier offers several options for those struggling to pay. If you’re on British Gas’s pay-as-you-go service (by topping up a meter) and you’ve already used all your emergency credit, you may be entitled to extra credit, although this will eventually need to be paid back.
If you do go into debt, you may be able to repay this using the Fuel Direct scheme, whereby payments come directly out of any benefit payments you get.
There are options for those who pay by Direct Debit, too. Helpline staff can talk you through several simple methods that could reduce your bill, such as getting a smart meter and linking it to the British Gas app to help you stay within your budget, or checking if there’s a cheaper tariff you could be using. Again, Direct Debit customers may be able to repay debts directly out of government-issued benefits using the Fuel Direct scheme.
Like most major energy suppliers, EDF’s website offers a list of handy tips to help you use less energy, which could help you lower your household bills. Unlike many others, however, it also runs a ‘Customer Support Fund’ – a grant paid out to EDF’s most vulnerable customers, which you can apply for through their partner, Charis Grants.
If you need more time to pay your bills, start by getting in touch to see if they can extend your payment deadline, or set up an instalment plan.
Similar to EDF, E.On Next offers grants for those most at risk from energy poverty – find out if you could be eligible at E.On Next's funding page.
It also has a partnership with Paylink, a free service that uses your financial information to create a personal payment plan. While this won’t reduce your actual bills, it could make sure you don’t miss deadlines and get late payment fees.
As with other suppliers, the best first step for OVO customers struggling to pay their bills is to get in touch and explain your situation.
They may be able to support you with a payment plan, which spreads the cost of your bill (plus any outstanding debt) over a set number of payments, helping you avoid having to pay a lump sum at once. OVO’s website also offers information on other resources and helplines available to those struggling with debt.
Another supplier offering grants for customers who are struggling, Octopus has set aside £15 million to help its most vulnerable customers pay their energy bills. Head here to find out if you’re eligible for direct financial support.
As well as personal repayment plans, Octopus has, in the past, also offered practical ways to help customers cut their costs, including the loan of thermal-imaging cameras to spot heat leaks in the home. This offer closed in November 2022, but could return in the future.
One of Scotland’s biggest energy providers is another offering grants for customers hardest hit by the rising cost of living. You can apply for the ScottishPower Hardship Fund by calling the debt charity StepChange on 0800 652 7491 (Relay UK 18001 0800 652 7491). They’ll handle all the application forms for you and get in touch should you be eligible for financial support.
Struggling to pay your energy bills?
We've gathered useful links from popular UK gas and electricity providers, with guidance on the support that is available if you are struggling with your energy bills, including information on what to do if you've missed a payment.
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This content is for information purposes only and shouldn’t be regarded as financial advice. While we’ve taken every effort to make sure this information is as accurate as possible, it has not been independently verified.