The UK’s energy suppliers are offering extra support during the outbreak of COVID-19 - find out how your supplier can help you if you’re affected.
What support are energy suppliers providing during the Coronavirus outbreak?
The Coronavirus outbreak has caused disruption to many households across Britain, with many facing financial difficulty as they are unable to work.
On 19 March 2020, the government agreed measures with the energy industry to support vulnerable people and those affected by Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. All UK domestic energy suppliers have signed an industry agreement, setting out measures to ensure these households do not go without an energy supply at this time. While these measures were initially voluntary, all suppliers will be required to offer this extra protection from 15 December.
You can get help topping up your prepayment meter if you’re self-isolating
Many have been advised to self-isolate during the Coronavirus outbreak, including those with symptoms of the virus as well as those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of the virus. If you have a prepayment meter and you’re not able to leave the house to top it up, there’s extra help available for you.
Your supplier may allow you to nominate someone else to top up your credit. If you need someone else to top up your meter, Ofgem recommends you leave your meter box unlocked.
If you have a prepayment smart meter, you should be able to top up by phone, mobile app or online. If you’re not sure how to do this, contact your supplier.
Alternatively, your supplier may add a discretionary fund to your account or send you a pre-loaded top up card so your supply isn’t interrupted while you’re stuck at home.
If you can’t afford to top up your meter because you’re financially impacted by Coronavirus, contact your energy supplier immediately and they’ll advise you.
You can get energy bill support if you’re struggling financially
Under the new measures, households in financial distress will be supported by their energy supplier during the Coronavirus outbreak.
This could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary if you suddenly find yourself with less income as a result of the outbreak. From 15 December, suppliers must offer realistic and sustainable repayment plans to customers in debt.
If you find yourself struggling to pay your energy bills or are in debt to your energy provider, contact them to see how they can help.
Your energy supplier won’t disconnect your supply
The new measures have been brought in to ensure the most vulnerable people can still have a reliable energy supply in the case of self-isolation. As part of these plans, all energy suppliers have agreed that they will not disconnect any credit meters during the Coronavirus outbreak if households fall behind on payments.
If you’re on a prepayment meter, you should be protected against disconnection by following the measures above to ensure your meter is topped up – just contact your supplier if you’re struggling.
Other schemes to help with your energy bills
As well as ensuring suppliers offer extra support during the Coronavirus outbreak, the government also offers a number of schemes to help people who might struggle with their energy bills in general.
Government initiatives like the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payment can help towards energy bills, while the new Green Homes Grant aims to help make homes more energy efficient to cut bills in the long term. Use our interactive tool to find out more about these schemes and which ones you could be eligible for:
Tips for saving energy at home
You might find that you’re using more energy than usual because you’re spending more time at home – whether you’re self-isolating, working from home, or you’ve got children who are unable to go to school.
Read our top energy saving tips to try and conserve energy and reduce your bills if you think you’ll be using more energy at home than usual during the Coronavirus outbreak.