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How To Pay Your Gas and Electricity
Can I Get Any Help to Pay My Fuel Bills?
If you are on Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance or certain benefits, you may get help from the Benefits Agency such as:
- A cold weather payment if you are old, ill, disabled or have young children.
- A one-off winter fuel payment
- A loan or a grant from the Social Fund for the cost of reconnection, or installation or re-siting of a meter.
- You cannot get a Budgeting Loan or a Grant to pay your electricity and gas bills. However, in very limited circumstances, you might get a Crisis Loan to help pay a fuel bill.
- Social Services - You might get money to help pay a fuel bill if it prevents your children being taken into care.
- Charities - You might get help from a charity to help pay a fuel bill, but only in very limited circumstances. Contact your local Neighbourhood Office who will be able to advise you further.
What Are the Ways to Pay for My Fuel Bills?
Budget Schemes and Payment Plans
Weekly, fortnightly, monthly payments
At a bank using a booklet, by direct debit or standing order
At a post office using a payment card
Prepayment Meter - You can pay through a pre-payment meter using a smart card which can be charged at your local Paypoint shop
Direct Payments - If you are on Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Seekers Allowance, or pension credit you can have an amount deducted from your benefit and paid to the fuel company.
What Should I Do If I Can't Pay My Fuel Bills?
Code of Practice - The fuel companies have a Code of Practice to help those customers who find it difficult to pay their fuel bills
The Code advises you to:
Contact the company if you are finding it difficult to pay your bill
Seek Advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or other advice agencies
Tell the company, if you are on benefit, have young children, if you are elderly, sick or disabled.
Contact the Social Services or the Benefits Agency to delay the disconnection.
Contact the Private Tenancy Team (Tel No: 0121 303 303 5341 if you pay your landlord for your fuel, and you are threatened with disconnection because your landlord has not paid the bill
The Fuel Company will not Disconnect:
If a payment arrangement is agreed to clear the bill by instalments which you can afford.
If it is safe and practical to install a pre-payment meter set to collect the debt at a rate you can afford.
In the winter months if you are a pensioner.
If the debt belongs to a previous occupier or past customer.
If there is no adult at home.
If the debt is for credit or hire-purchase.
If you pay your landlord for your fuel, they have not paid, and you contact the City Council for help.
What Happens If I Don't Pay My Fuel Bill?
The fuel company will make every effort to make a payment arrangement to enable you to pay your fuel bill. If you don't pay your fuel bill the fuel company, can cut off your gas/electricity supply or if your meter is inside they can get a warrant to force entry and then cut you off
What Should I Do If I Am Threatened with Disconnection?
Contact the fuel company to:
Make an arrangement to pay the bill by instalments that you can afford
Agree to the installation of a pre-payment meter set to collect the debt at a rate you can afford
Contact the Benefits Agency if you are on Income Support or Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance to arrange a deduction from your benefit
You can Get Help and Advice from Energy Watch - They can deal with disputes about such things as bills and disconnection. Tel: 08459060708
Private Tenancy Team (Birmingham City Council Housing) if you pay your landlord for your fuel Tel: 0121 303 5341.
Contact Birmingham on 0121 303 1111 or your local Neighbourhood Office