What to do if you are struggling to pay your energy bills
If you are struggling to afford your gas and electricity bills, contact your supplier to arrange a payment plan.
Currently the cheapest way to pay for energy at home is by direct debit. Therefore, if you cannot afford your direct debit, it is best to speak to your energy supplier and it will help you to arrange a plan that you can afford, rather than cancelling your direct debit.
Do you know your rights when discussing debts with your energy supplier? Are you worried about the prospect of being forced to have a prepayment meter installed? Ofgem are the regulators for energy firms and have put together this handy guide to discussing debts and concerns with your supplier and how to progress complaints if you are concerned that you have not been treated appropriately.
Citizens Advice also has lots of information on their website that can help you if you are struggling to pay your energy bills. You can also contact Norfolk Citizens Advice for help.
Cash support for energy bills - updated March 2023
Energy Price Guarantee - this limits the price that suppliers can charge for each unit of energy. For a household with average use it means an annual bill will not rise above £2,500 from 1 October 2022 until 30 June 2023. However, if you use more gas or electricity than that, you will pay more. Households will still receive cost of living payments previously announced by government.
Energy Bills Support Scheme - every household in Great Britain will have £400 taken off their electricity bill. This will not need to be paid back and will be automatically allocated. The £400 will be paid in 6 instalments starting from October 2022 as follows: £66 in October and November; £67 in December, January, February and March.
If you have an electricity meter and pay bills every month or quarterly, the supplier will automatically take the amounts off the energy bill each month.
If you have a prepayment meter, your supplier will confirm how the £400 will be allocated. They will either: automatically add the instalments to the energy meter; or send the instalments as vouchers by email, text or post.
Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding - this funding is to support households that didn’t automatically receive £400 from the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Check eligiblity and apply on gov.uk
Energy Bills Rebate - Householders in band A to D properties have now been paid a £150 rebate. Some households will also have received extra support through our Discretionary Energy Rebate scheme.
Other one-off payments - you will also receive extra one-off payments from the government if you receive certain benefits or are over State Pension age and get Winter Fuel Payments:
- The lowest income households will receive £650
- Pensioner households will receive £300
- Those receiving non-means-tested disability benefits will receive £150
Other cash support - Make sure you have checked if you are eligible for any income support from government. This will also ensure you receive the one-off payments mentioned above.
The Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) can also help people who are in financial hardship and cannot pay their living costs.
Energy saving improvements
Grants for improvements - Many energy efficiency schemes are designed for those in receipt of certain means tested benefits or with a total household income of £30,000 or less. Go to our partner Eon's website to see what you might be eligible for.
Energy efficiency recommendations - If you own your home, get tailored recommendations from government for home improvements that could reduce energy bills.
Energy saving tips and advice - Energy Saving Trust also provides lots of advice and tips on heating your home, reducing heat loss, and buying energy efficient products.