Energy costs, energy bills and fuel debt

Our Money Matters Team can offer energy advice that can help you reduce your energy costs and recover from fuel debt.

Get help and support

Our Money Matters Team offers a free service to help you make the most of your money. The service is available to all customers and you do not have to be in debt to use it.

We can arrange a confidential, face-to-face chat.

To contact our Money Matters Team, you can:

Calls will cost the same as a call to a landline and texts will be charged at your network’s standard rate. Both will be included as part of any inclusive minutes or texts on your mobile phone package.

Energy costs

Our Money Matters Team can help you reduce your energy costs and find the best deal for your energy bills. This includes helping with:

Energy bills

There are many reasons why your bill may not be correct. These include using:

  • incorrect names and addresses
  • different supplier details
  • meter details from another home
  • metric units instead of imperial units
  • imperial units instead of metric units
  • estimated readings rather than actual readings
  • day and night meter readings with the wrong tariff

When you get your bill, you have 28 days to pay or tell your supplier you may not be able to pay. Your energy supplier will not immediately disconnect you. This is usually the last thing they will do.

It can take 6 months to disconnect you, depending on your energy supplier and personal circumstances.

If your energy supplier tells you they are going to disconnect you, contact them for help. Most suppliers provide financial assistance for their customers, including:

You can also apply for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust.

If you would like our help with this, you can talk to or book an appointment with our Money Matters Team.

Priority services registers

These are free services that network operators and suppliers offer to people in certain situations. Network operators own and manage the pipes and cables that bring electricity and gas to your home.

The registers are for people who:

  • are at or over State Pension age
  • are disabled or have limited mobility
  • have long-term medical conditions
  • need to use medical equipment that requires a power supply
  • have mental health conditions
  • are pregnant or have young children
  • have extra communication needs
  • need extra support for a short time

To register you can contact your supplier or network operator. Both keep priority services registers. You can ask your supplier to pass on information to your network operators.

Network operators and suppliers include:

If you would like our help with this, you can talk to or book an appointment with our Money Matters Team.

Meter readings and smart meters

Give your energy supplier regular meter readings so you only pay for what you use. If you do not know where your meter is or how to read it, contact your energy supplier or call 0191 525 5000 and select option 4.

A smart meter and in-home display can help you see how much energy you use. You can request a free smart meter from your energy supplier. It will automatically send them meter readings so they will not use estimated readings.

Your in-home display will show how much energy you have used in energy units and money over the day, week, and month.

For more information about smart meters, contact your energy supplier or go to Smart Energy GB.

Fuel debt

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills or are in debt with your energy supplier, contact them to see what help they can give you. Many energy suppliers offer grants to help you get out of fuel debt. You can apply for yourself or for someone else.

Make sure you have up-to-date meter readings and know:

  • your full name and address as they are in their records
  • meter serial numbers, these are on your bills and meters
  • MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number), this is on your bills and meters
  • how you pay your bills
  • details of any benefits you get
  • details about anyone in your home who is elderly, disabled or under 5 years old
  • other things about your financial hardship, like more than one debt

You may need supporting information, like a letter from a GP, social worker, or debt charity.

If you would like our help to apply, you can talk to or book an appointment with our Money Matters Team.

Switching energy suppliers

If you are in debt on your prepayment meter, you can switch suppliers if the debt is £500 or less.

If you are in debt on a credit meter where you pay bills, your energy supplier can stop you switching. But they must offer you the best available tariff. If your debt is £500 or less, you can ask for a prepayment meter, but these tariffs are usually more expensive so you will pay more for each unit of energy.

Other places to get energy support

Green Doctors is a free service that provides:

You can also get free, impartial and non-judgemental help and support about your energy supply, bills and fuel debt from: