If you’re struggling to afford heating your home or paying your electricity bills, contact your supplier to discuss ways to pay what you owe them. Your supplier has to help you come to a solution. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you.

It’s important that you understand how to negotiate with your supplier because if you don’t they might threaten to disconnect your supply.

Here are our top 5 tips to help you come to a solution with your supplier:

1. Agree a payment plan with your supplier

Tell your supplier that you want to pay off your debts in instalments as part of a payment plan. You’ll pay fixed amounts over a set period of time, meaning you’ll pay what you can afford. The payment plan will cover what you owe plus an amount for your current use.

Your supplier must take into account:

  • how much you can afford to pay – give them details about your income and outgoings, debts and personal circumstances
  • how much energy you’ll use in future – they’ll estimate this based on your past usage, but give them regular meter readings to make this more accurate
2. Keep the conversation going if you can’t afford the payment plan

Speak to your supplier again if you think they’re charging you too much or you’re struggling to afford the repayments. You can try to negotiate a better deal. If you don’t, your supplier might make you have a prepayment meter installed.

3. Pay off your debt through your benefits

You might be able to repay your debt directly from your benefits through the Fuel Direct Scheme. A fixed amount will automatically be taken from your benefits to cover what you owe, plus an extra amount for your current use. It can be more convenient than having a prepayment meter fitted (which your supplier might try to do if you can’t agree a payment plan) and you won’t risk running out of gas or electricity.

To be eligible, you must be getting one of the following benefits:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (but only if you’re not working)
4. Check if energy companies offer grants and schemes

There are a number of energy companies who offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer. If you’re disabled, elderly or you get benefits, check whether you can get other help paying your energy bills.

5. Get in touch

We can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency, keep costs down and depending on your financial circumstances, determine if there are any relevant grants or support schemes available.

If you’re struggling with paying your energy bills, for help visit national Citizens Advice for more information or contact us.