The focus of this week’s ‘MABS investigates’ is Utilities. We receive many questions regarding Utilities, so let’s dive in.
I’ve just got a massive electricity bill. I can’t afford to pay it, what do I do?
If you’re going to have trouble paying your gas or electricity bill, the best thing to do is to talk to your energy provider. Check a recent copy of your bill, the number to call will be on this bill with your account number. Your provider may advise that you enter into a longer-term payment plan. The energy provider should be able to give you your average usage and its important to include this in your repayment.
If you agree to a payment plan going forward, make sure you agree on a date that will suit you to pay so you can ensure you have the money available to pay. If your bill is on direct debit and you have entered into a payment plan make sure that the energy provider cancels the request from their side and you should also contact your bank to cancel the direct debit.
You can check with your provider that you are on the best tariff for your needs. It is possible to switch providers to get a better tariff. Before you switch and if you move to a new provider make sure you check your contract as there are often penalties if you break a contract i.e. switch providers before your contract is due to end.
Check out the following websites to compare tariffs on gas and electricity:
If you are in arrears with your current supplier you may still be able to switch though it depends on how much you owe. If you do switch you’ll need to pay the balance when your old supplier sends you your closing bill. The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) outline what you need to know on their website.
If you regularly have large energy bills, check your energy bills from the last year to see if there have been any big increases in use. Try to figure out why this has happened. Bills based on estimated readings may be wrong. If you can take your own gas and electricity meter readings and send the current readings to your supplier. The contact details will be on your bill. Doing this will make your bill more accurate. Bear in mind that by updating your readings if your readings are higher than your supplier’s estimated readings, you may end up with a bigger bill.
MABS can help you to deal with your arrears. We will work with you to help create a budget for your household, to prevent bill shock in the future.
Have you got a money or debt advice question that you’d like answered? Get in touch, and we’ll give you a clear and accurate answer to your money and debt advice questions.
Disclaimer: This blog does not represent legal advice and is intended for guidance only. If you are concerned about your current or future personal financial situation then please contact an adviser from MABS. Advisers are available by phone and email and through our WhatsApp 086 035 3141. You can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm or find the contact details for your local office here.
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