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Fuel Debts

I owe money to my current energy supplier, what should I do?

Don't ignore the problem. You must take steps to sort things out.

Fuel debts are called 'high priority' debts because if you don't pay, your electricity or gas may be cut off within a few weeks. Visit our Different types of debt page for more information about how to deal with debt, including money owed to a previous energy supplier

I'm afraid they will cut off my fuel supply

Most fuel companies will be reasonable if you contact them and explain you want to make regular payments to gradually pay off your debt. In most cases they will not cut off your supply if:

  • You have a prepayment meter fitted. For more information on pre payment meters, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
  • It is the winter (October to March) and anyone in your house is over retirement age.
  • Someone living in your house is seriously ill.

What should I do first?

As soon as you get into debt with your gas or electricity bill, contact the company and offer to make regular payments to cover:

  • a payment towards the arrears; and

  • the cost of the gas or electricity you are using now

Make sure you can afford to keep up the payments you are offering. Visit our How to budget page to find out how to work out how much you can afford.

For more advice on dealing with your gas or electricity supplier visit a local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau here.

I've got a red bill and/or a disconnection notice, is it too late to sort things out?

No – but you must take action straight away. Contact the company and tell them that you want to start making payments towards the money you owe. (See paragraph above).

At this stage, it can be a good idea to get help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

An adviser will be able to contact the company for you.  Sometimes, energy companies are more willing to help if they know you are taking the problem seriously and getting help to sort things out.

What else can I do?

Make sure you arrange a payment method for your gas and electricity that is best for you and will prevent you falling into debt again. Possible choices include:

  • A prepayment meter (For more information, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website)

  • Paying a fixed amount every week, two weeks or month – this spreads the cost of your bill over the year.

  • Paying a regular amount directly from your benefits to your energy supplier. This would cover your bill and a payment towards any money you owe.

Apply to a trust fund

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charity that can offer grants to help people pay off money owing to energy suppliers as well as other household bills. To find out more visit the British Gas Energy Trust website.

The E.ON Energy Fund can offer grants to help people pay off their current or final energy bills, even from previous suppliers. It can also help to buy replacement white goods and to replace or repair gas boilers. To qualify you don't have to be an EON Energy domestic customer. To find out more visit the EON Energy Fund website.

The EDF Energy Trust Fund can offer grants to help people pay off their gas or electricity debts. To qualify you must be an EDF Energy domestic customer. To find out more visit the EDF Energy Trust Fund website.

The npower Energy Fund can offer grants to help people pay off their gas or electricity debts. To qualify you must be an npower Energy domestic customer. To find out more visit the npower Energy Fund website.

The Yorkshire Water Community Trust helps people who find it hard to pay their water bills. To find out more visit the Yorkshire Water Community Trust website.

Can I reduce my energy bills?

Visit our 'Energy' and 'Discounts and Support' page.

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