If you're struggling with bills because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
We understand this is a worrying time and many people may find themselves in financial difficulty. Help is available.
The Government has agreed emergency measures with suppliers to support customers using prepayment meters or who may be struggling with money problems. Options may include on a case by case basis:
- reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
- payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
- giving you greater time to pay
- in some cases access to hardship funds
Suppliers must give emergency support if you can’t top up your prepayment meter. This includes 'friendly-hours' credit, additional support credit or emergency credit.
Suppliers have also suspended disconnecting credit meters during the pandemic, except in cases of safety, theft and vacant properties.
Visit your supplier's website or contact them for specific advice to you.
If you have a prepayment meter, see also the Citizens Advice guide on what to do if you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter.
Please be aware you may experience longer call waiting times than normal when contacting support services due to high volumes of customers trying to get through and/or staff shortages because of the coronavirus. Please try online options where you are able to such as via their website, app, email or social media. This will help leave phone lines free for emergencies.
Help with energy bills and budgeting
If you are struggling to pay for your gas and electricity bills or you get into debt, contact your energy supplier as soon as you can. They must work with you to agree a payment plan you can afford.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for extra help with your energy bills or services.
You can also find advice and help on managing debt and budgeting through:
Citizens Advice can also help if you can't agree a payment plan with your supplier or if you're not happy with the options they've given to you. Visit their website Citizens Advice consumer helpline (opens another website) or call:
- 0808 223 1133 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pmTextphone: 18001 0808 223 1133
- For a Welsh-speaking adviser: 0808 223 1144Textphone for a Welsh-speaking adviser: 18001 0808 223 1144
Ways to reduce your gas and electricity bills
Reducing how much you use and pay for your gas and electricity may help you to manage your bills better or repay a debt quicker. You could consider:
- shopping around for a better gas or electricity deal and switching tariff or supplier
- changing payment method for your bills
- looking into grants and benefits to help you save on home heat and insulation
- looking into government schemes that could help pay for home energy efficiency improvements, such as free boiler replacement or roof insulation.
For more tips and contacts, see our section on Save money on your gas and electricity bills.
More guides on help with energy bills
- Energy supply disconnection and prepayment meter rules
- Energy back-billing: Your rights
- Priority Services Register for people in need
- Home heating support schemes and advice
- Energy saving support schemes and advice
Ofgem is a member of the UK Regulators Network (UKRN). As well as for gas and electricity services, you can access further advice on the extra help available to people in vulnerable situations across water, phones and public transport on the UKRN website (opens another website).