Don’t be left in the dark on energy bills

Over the last decade, the rapid increase in energy bills is staggering, leaving many households finding it difficult to balance their monthly budget. Quite rightly, energy companies are criticised for quickly putting prices up but being slow to cut when wholesale prices come down.

I’m backing the “Plug the Debt” campaign, organised by Consumer Focus and Citizen’s Advice, to help consumers understand their rights if they are struggling to pay their energy bills.

5 helpful tips if you are in energy debt:

Contact your energy firm as soon as you realise you might have trouble paying your bill – debts will be harder to pay off if they grow

Tell your supplier what you can afford to pay – they have to take this into account in agreeing repayments

● Ask your energy company, local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Home Heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 to find out about other free energy help available

● Even if you are in debt, you may be able to switch to a cheaper deal with your current supplier, especially if you pay by cash, cheque or pre-payment meter

Find out if you are missing out on financial help that could make it easier to pay your bills by contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau on 08 444 111 444.

An excellent online leaflet provides information on what to do when you are having difficulty paying your bills and how to find out if you are eligible for assistance. There is a template letter to ask your supplier to consider a different repayment schedule as well.

19th January 2012