Money Wellness
Person holding an energy smart meter

What to do about energy arrears

If you’ve fallen behind with your energy bill payments, this is known as being in arrears. Find out what happens when you have energy arrears and how to deal with the situation.

Contact your supplier

If you’ve fallen behind with your energy bills, the first thing you should do is contact your supplier to try to come to an arrangement. Energy arrears are a priority debt. This means you need to pay them before non-priority debts like unsecured personal loans. Find out more about the difference between priority and non-priority debts.  

If you don’t try to come to a payment arrangement with you supplier, they might make you move onto prepayment or threaten to disconnect you. Find out what to do if your energy supplier is trying to force you onto prepayment.

Agreeing a payment plan

Any payment plan you agree will include an amount towards your arrears and an amount towards your current use.

Your supplier must look at:

  • how much you can afford
  • how much energy you use

Our guide on how to create a budget may help if you’re not sure how much you can afford to pay. Alternatively, get in touch and we’ll work out a budget together.

Repaying energy debt through your benefits

You may be able to pay off your energy debt directly through your benefits. Under the fuel direct scheme, a fixed amount will come straight out of your benefits to cover what you owe.

Financial support from energy suppliers

Quite a few energy suppliers offer grants to help customers who are struggling. Find out what grants are available and how to apply.

Priority services register

If you're vulnerable, you can sign up to the priority services register for free. This entitles you to extra help from your energy supplier. Find out what qualifies as being vulnerable and what you need to do to sign up.

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