Energy Bills

What happens if you can’t pay your bills?

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read
    Last Updated April 2, 2024

    Being faced with bills you can’t pay can be stressful. While the temptation to bury your head in the sand may be strong, it’s important to act promptly and sensibly to resolve the issue. If you fail to take action, the consequences could be dire.

    What happens if I don’t pay my electric bill?

    In this post, we’ll look at the repercussions of leaving electricity bills unpaid for both commercial and domestic customers. You’ll also find information about schemes that can help to make your utility bills more affordable.

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    What happens if businesses don’t pay their energy bills?

    If you haven’t paid a previous bill or you don’t pay a regular amount towards future invoices, you will be in arrears with your supplier. If you’re in debt with your current power provider, it’s counted as a priority debt. This kind of debt carries the gravest consequences so should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

    Businesses that find themselves in this position should take a proactive approach by working out how much they owe and getting in touch with their provider to figure out a payment plan. You should provide a copy of your business’s budget to support your proposed payment plan. Pay as much as you can afford to to reduce the debt and start making payments as soon as possible.

    If you don’t attempt to resolve the situation, your energy supplier is within their rights to cut off your supply. However, this is usually a last resort and the utilities company should give you notice before doing this. Having your business electricity disconnected could have disastrous consequences. You would likely have to close your business while you wait for your power supply to be reconnected, which could result in a significant financial loss.

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    What happens if domestic customers don’t pay their energy bills?

    If you’re a domestic customer who has fallen behind with their energy payments, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. This is understandable, however it’s vitally important that you take measures to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

    Start by working out what you owe your supplier and then get in touch with them to discuss drawing up a payment arrangement that suits both parties. The arrangement should cover both what you owe and an amount for your current usage. It’s natural to be worried about approaching a company you owe money to but it’s worth remembering that your energy provider is obliged to work with you to come to an agreeable solution. When determining how much your installments will be, they must take into account how much you can afford to pay and how much energy you’re estimated to use in the future.

    If you can’t come to a suitable arrangement, your supplier might try to install a prepayment meter. However, you can object to having a prepayment meter installed in certain circumstances, for example if you have an illness or disability that would make it difficult to access, read or use the meter.

    If you haven’t paid a bill for 28 days, you cannot come to a repayment agreement and you refuse to have a prepayment meter installed without good reason, your provider can disconnect your power supply. However, they must give you seven days’ notice before they do this.

    Pensioners living alone and pensioners living with children under the age of five should not have their energy cut off between the beginning of October and the end of March. Furthermore, the ‘Big 6’ – Britain’s largest energy suppliers – will not disconnect your power if you have severe financial difficulties, a long-term health problem, a disability or young children that live with you.

    What grants are available to help pay my business energy bills?

    Fuel Direct Scheme

    If you receive one of the following benefits, you may be able to use the Fuel Direct Scheme:

    • Universal Credit
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Pension Credit
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

    Winter Fuel Payment

    You may be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 5 October 1954. You will get it automatically if you receive the State Pension or certain other benefits (not Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit or Council Tax Reduction). If you don’t receive it automatically but you are entitled to it, you will need to apply for it.

    Cold Weather Payment

    You might be entitled to Cold Weather Payments  if you claim one of the following benefits:

    • Pension Credit
    • Universal Credit
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Support for Mortgage Interest

    Warm Home Discount Scheme

    You could qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if:

    • You receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit
    • You’re on low income and meet your energy provider’s eligibility criteria

    Non-Domestic RHI

    There is a long list of criteria to qualify for the Non-Domestic RHI. For example, the rules dictate that you must be the owner of the installation or have permission to act for the owners if there is more than one, the plant must also be an eligible size and type and no public grants are allowed to be used to pay for the installation unless the money has been paid back already. For further information on the eligibility for the Non-Domestic RHI, see here.

    Switch to save

    If your business energy bills are too high, you might be able to save money by switching. Compare energy deals today. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our friendly team for expert advice.

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      Choose your business address

      Can’t see the address? Enter manually

      Are you comparing for a business or home?

      Business

      Home


      Go Back
      Select Utility
      Now please select a utility I want to get prices for...
      Gas
      Electric
      Gas & Electric
      Water
      Go Back
      Next
      Please enter your business gas information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Go Back
      Get Prices

      Let’s save time, can we automatically gather meter information?

      ? What does this mean?
      To get your quotes at lightening speed we need several key pieces of information which can all be found on your electricity bill. But by simply ticking this box, we can search ‘industry held data’ to get your meter number, electricity consumption and current energy supplier. This means that we can get you quick quotes without asking you to dig out all of your paperwork. This is personal data therefore we need you to allow us to access this information.
      Go Back

      Do you know your electric meter number?

      Does your meter number end in any of the following?

      Go Back
      Enter meter number
      I don’t know
      Please enter your business electricity information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Start date for a new contract?
      Get Prices
      Please enter your water information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Go Back
      Get Prices

        Enter your details below to get quotes We’ve helped over 90,000 businesses