Will my energy bills rise as a result of the coronavirus outbreak?
Due to self-isolation and social-distancing measures, you’ll almost certainly see a significant rise in your energy bills.
You’re now spending a lot more time in your home than you usually would which means energy-usage in the house is obviously going to exceed its usual amount.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of simple, effective ways to reduce the cost of your energy. Check out our guide on how to save money while you’re self-isolating.
Will the coronavirus impact my direct supply of energy?
It is understandable to think the energy supply to premises across the country could cease due to the outbreak of coronavirus, especially with firm lockdown measures in place, but this is not the case.
All suppliers are working to the same rules and regulations Ofgem have put in place, just with added care. Energy suppliers will continue to provide good customer service where they can, and will prioritise vulnerable customers while following government advice. Ofgem assures all paying energy customers in the UK will be protected if any problems occur.
What should I do if I’m struggling to pay my energy bills?
The government has released an emergency package alongside energy suppliers to ensure energy customers don’t endure any added stress of not being able to pay their bills during the coronavirus lockdown.
Those affected should get in contact with their energy supplier, either by phone or their online chat function, as soon as possible.
Your supplier will ask you some questions about your current circumstances and then help you work out an appropriate payment plan.
Some of the options available include:
- Ressassing the amount you pay toward your bill
- Potentially having your bill or debt repayments reduced
- Giving you access to financial programs like hardship funds
I’m self-isolating, can I get help with topping up my preprepayment meter?
An emergency scheme has been launched by the government to help vulnerable customers top up their pre-payment meters.
Anyone in this situation should again contact their energy supplier as soon as possible who will run through the different options for getting credit with you.
Some of these include:
- Being able to nominate a third party to go out and get credit for you
- Having a pre-loaded top up card send to you in the post
- Having discretionary funds added to your meter
Do not panic. No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak! You can read more on the government’s support for the energy industry amid coronavirus at GOV.UK.
What should I do if I have a power cut?
If you experience any energy problems during isolation, such as power cuts, gas leaks or meter issues, don’t panic.
For leaks and meter issues contact your supplier straight away. Emergency response measures are being put in place to deal with safety-critical home visits.
However, if you have a power cut, phone 105, a free phone number that will put you in contact to your local network operator who will give you the help and advice you need.
It’s always worth being prepared for a possible power outage. Make sure you have access to items such as torches, blankets, batteries, candles and be sure to keep devices or power banks fully charged so you’ll have some entertainment while you wait for the power to come back on. Alternatively, you could simply sit back and read a book by candlelight.