It goes without saying, but here’s a few reasons why it’s so important to make sure you’re paying your utility bills on time.
- Utilities companies aren’t allowed to cut you off from your gas and electricity in the UK, but they might install a pre-payment meter which is far less convenient.
- It helps you keep your credit score looking healthy.
- You won’t be stung with late fees that could be spent on far more fun things. Like chocolate.
But sometimes life gets in the way, right?
When you’re busy or distracted, you might just forget the due date. Or maybe you need to wait a few days to be paid.
There are lots of other reasons too, like being a bit disorganised in general, having an unpredictable income, and of course the general cost of living crisis.
There may be other reasons too – incorrect meter readings or estimates, and technical things like overlapping bill periods. All meaning a higher bill that maybe you can’t pay just yet. Here’s what you can do.
- Talk to your energy supplier now if you’re struggling to pay
There’s a regulator for the energy industry – Ofgem – and under their rules, your supplier has to help you, usually by sorting out a payment plan you can afford. Call them to get the wheels in motion.
- Utilising bill payment apps and tools
Utility company apps
Lots of energy suppliers will have their own app where you can get notifications, see your energy usage and check for payment deadlines. Multiservice companies, like Utility Warehouse (UW), even offer apps that help you stay on track with all your bills, including energy, mobile, broadband, and insurance.
Set up automatic payments – never miss a bill payment again
Direct debits come straight out of your account when the bill is due – so no matter how forgetful you are, you’ll always pay your bills on time. Easy peasy.
Energy companies like UW also incentivise you to pay via direct debit – saving you a percentage or two if you pay this way.
Use a reminder app
Set a reminder to ping up on your phone – but be careful not to put it off. Maybe set 2 reminders if you’re easily distracted.
Exploring Alternative Methods:
- See how your energy supplier can help
Suppliers will often run schemes to help customers cover their bills. Here’s a few examples of initiatives your supplier might run:
- Energy suppliers’ hardship funds
- The warm home discount
- Cold weather payments
- Free insulation and boiler grants
- Up to £1200 grants for armed forces veterans
- Where to find a warm space near you to get out of the cold
If you’re struggling to pay your bills, give your supplier a call.
- Check out cashback offers
For example, the Utility Warehouse cashback card is available for their customers – load it with spending money and depending on the retailer, you’ll get up to 10% back on money you’d be spending anyway. This money comes off your energy bill so it’s an easy way to save without thinking about it.
- Get support with your bills
Citizens Advice are always on hand to help – they provide high quality advice, for free, to anyone who’s looking for support on a wide array of issues.
So if you’re struggling to pay, know that there’s help out there for you. Head online, make that phone call, or send that email. The worst thing you can do is put it off.
And of course, always make sure you’re getting the best deal from your supplier.
Government support might be available if:
- You’re on means-tested benefits
- You’re a pensioner
- You get certain disability benefits
- You’re in a vulnerable household
Are you any of the above? Hop on to the help page, and see if you’re eligible for benefits, grants, or help.
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