Energy Suppliers Extra Support during COVID-19
This webpage was last edited 28/09/2021.
OFGEM and energy suppliers released an announcement on 19th March 2020 pledging to support energy customers vulnerable because of COVID-19, self-isolating or experiencing financial hardship. This information is for residents who cannot access their online account. Anyone who can, should do so and follow the procedures outlined there.
I need help from my supplier, what do I do?
If you are in financial hardship due to lack of income, or are self-isolating with no-one available to go and top up for you, call your supplier now.
What will they do?
Your supplier will listen to your circumstances so they can find the best way to help you.
I can’t top up my pre-payment meter– what can they really do to help me?
- Increase the level of emergency credit
- Send a pre-loaded card or key to you in the post
- Send an engineer out to add credit to your meter
- Convert smart pre-payment meters to credit meters remotely to stop you disconnecting
I’m on a credit meter and can’t pay my direct debit or bill, what can I do?
Call your supplier or log in to your online account to let them know. Tell them you need to cancel your direct debit / regular payment for the time being due to financial hardship.
Will I be penalised?
British Gas told us that any default as a result of hardship from COVID-19 will not be reported to credit reference agencies and so will not impact your credit score. They also assured us that debts won’t be chased. You should confirm these things with your own supplier too.
How will I pay it back?
Most credit offered is discretionary and needs to be paid back in time, but suppliers are aware that this will be difficult and are offering a range of timescales and payment terms. Ask when repayment arrangements will need to be made when you call.
When is the right time to call my supplier?
If you are on pre-payment meters, do not wait for the meter to run out of credit completely before contacting the supplier. Even though call wait times may be high, it is important that you stay on the line in order to receive help early enough to prevent disconnection.
The guide below offers some useful energy-saving tips and advice during COVID-19 to help households reduce their consumption and become more energy-efficient.