Citizens Advice Forest of Dean
Your local advice column
I am behind on my energy bills and my energy company wants to install a prepayment meter. I don't want one as I've heard they can be more expensive than paying by direct debit. What can I do?
Suppliers may try to install a prepayment meter if you are falling behind on your bills. This is so you can pay for your energy by topping up your meter before you use it, and don’t get into debt.
If you don’t want pay for energy in this way, contact your supplier to tell them you are struggling with your bills. They should help you agree a repayment plan, based on how much you can afford and how much energy you use. If you are already on a plan but can’t afford it, see if you can make a new arrangement.
Also discuss with your supplier the costs of the different meters and tariffs. Once you’ve agreed to pay back your debts, your supplier won’t install a prepayment meter if you don’t want one.
There are further steps you can take to help you with your bills. You may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount, which could reduce your energy bill by £140, or a one off Cold Weather Payment from the government.
Some energy companies also offer grants to their customers to pay off fuel debts, while other companies and charities have grants which are open to anyone.
For further help understanding your options visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk or, if you need more advice, contact the Citizens Advice Forest of Dean on 01594 823937; visit our website www.forestofdeancab.co.uk, or find us on Facebook or twitter.
Please note there are drop-in services at: our Cinderford office on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 10am to 12.30pm; at our Coleford office on Monday afternoons 1.30pm to 4pm; in Newent Library Thursday mornings 10am – 12.30pm; and in Lydney Library every Thursday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm. Note that the Coleford office is now located in the Main Place (Coleford Library building).
Citizens Advice is a charity which offers free, confidential and independent advice. Each area has its own Citizens Advice charity, and is dependent on volunteers and local funding. We are always looking for new volunteers, trustees and financial support.
Copyright Citizens Advice 2017