With the ongoing situation with Cornovirus, you may be worried about how you are going to pay your fuel bills or how you will get to top up your pre-payment cards/keys if you need to self-isolate.
If you have a pre-payment meter here are some ideas about how you can manage with the cornovirus situation:
- If you can’t leave home to top up at your usual shop, Ofgem suggests you arrange for a trusted person to take your card and do it for you ((it may need disinfecting first), and leave your meter box unlocked if it’s outside your home.
- We understand money can be tight but, if you can afford it, and you’re not self-isolating already, energy firms are encouraging people to try and top up a little more than usual each time to try and build up some credit.
- Some energy customers may be able to send out cards loaded with emergency credit, if you are self-isolating and having financial difficulties. Contact your energy supplier to see if they can help in this way.
If your energy provider refuses to give you the support you need, you could refer them to the guidance from Ofgem who have said it expects providers to “take proactive measures to support prepayment meter customers, including customers in vulnerable circumstances”.
Please contact your energy provider and ask them what support they provide you with.
Problems paying your bills with a standard credit meter:
The main providers have said they will consider helping people affected by the coronavirus on a case by case basis but the support may include:
- pushing back bill due dates,
- offering alternative payment arrangements;
- removing debt charges for late payment.
If you have any concerns, please contact your fuel provider and explain the difficulties you are having and ask how they can assist you.
If they refuse to help, you could quote the guidance Ofgem have given which is that suppliers “should continue to identify vulnerable customers and work to ensure their needs are met.” It says this includes “taking a proportionate approach to debt recovery and late payments where appropriate”.
Debt advice: If you are having financial difficulties and have debts, you can get free debt advice from either your local Citizens Advice or local advice agency. You can also get free telephone or online advice at National Debtline at www.nationaldebtline.org/