Cutting off your gas?
When times are tough, we all try to think of ways to save money. You might be considering having your gas supply cut off (or 'capped'), or your meter removed to reduce your energy costs. Before you do this, get in touch with us to see if there are ways we can help. And if you’ve already capped your gas, we can still offer lots of support.
On a prepayment meter? Check the rules on debts
If you have an outstanding debt to your energy supplier, they must offer a range of ways to pay it back. One option could be through a prepayment meter, which lets you repay some of your debt automatically every time you top up your meter credit.
If you have a prepayment meter but haven't made an agreement with your energy supplier, they could take up to 100% of the amount you top up with and put it towards your debt (though some suppliers will only take a maximum of between 30 and 70% towards the debt).
It’s important to contact your supplier and agree how much each week/month you will pay towards your debt. Once you've done this, when you next top up they'll only take the agreed amount towards the debt, and the rest will be available to use.
How we can help
Get in touch with our specialist team and they can listen to your concerns and provide some options. These are some of the things we might suggest, but we have many other avenues of support that we can explore with you, so please contact us.
Our team will work with you to budget your household income and talk through any debts without judgement. We can give you information on typical expenditure figures for similar households, so you can compare. We can also explore your entitlements to see if there are government benefits or grants you may be able to claim with our support. We could even help you discuss a more manageable payment plan with your energy provider. Speak to us to explore your options.
Debt Management Support
Our Debt Management Support page is full of useful resources to help you manage your debt and feel in control of your finances.
Better Housing Better Health
Previously known as the Affordable Warmth Helpline, Better Housing Better Health helps Buckinghamshire residents to keep warm and well at home through improved energy efficiency, switching energy suppliers, or accessing financial support.
Take a look at our energy saving tips.
Cold Weather Payments
BBC News has put together a guide to how Cold Weather Payments work.
Helping Hand Scheme
Buckinghamshire Council run a Helping Hand scheme as part of the Household Support Fund, a government fund designed to support vulnerable households across the country.
If you’re on a low income and experiencing financial hardship you can contact the Helping Hand team to apply for support. They will prioritise urgent requests for household fuel and emergency food, and aim to respond within three working days. Non-urgent requests may take a little longer.
You can apply directly, or we can help you apply and offer support to access the Helping Hand service.
Your energy supplier and social tariffs
Some energy companies have social tariffs they can offer, and some also have charitable trusts to help customers pay for fuel arrears. A social tariff gives customers access to a lower price for their energy. To qualify for a social tariff, you need to be receiving one of the following: Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or a Personal Independence Payment.
The following energy suppliers offer grants to their customers:
- British Gas Energy Support Fund - apply for a grant on the British Gas Energy Trust website
- ScottishPower Hardship Fund - apply for a grant on the ScottishPower Hardship Fund website
- Ovo Customer Support Package - apply for help on the Ovo Energy website
- E.ON Next Energy Fund - apply for a grant on the E.ON Next Energy Fund website
- EDF Energy Customer Support Fund - sign up to the priority services register to apply for a grant on the EDF Energy website
- Octopus ‘Octo Assist Fund’ - apply for a grant on the Octopus website
- Shell Energy Support Fund - apply for help on the Shell Energy website
If your supplier isn’t listed, it’s a good idea to contact them anyway, to see what extra support they can give you.
British Gas Energy Trust
You don’t have to be a British Gas customer to qualify for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.
Fuel Direct Scheme
Tenants in receipt of benefits may be able to pay off any debt through the Fuel Direct Scheme. If you tell your supplier that you wish to pay off your debt under the Fuel Direct Scheme, the supplier must agree to it.