Falling behind with electricity and gas bills is worrying as catching up with the payments can be so difficult.
One option for householders on a prepayment meter owing less than £200 is trying to switch to a cheaper deal.
In some cases, the monthly saving that comes with switching can wipe out the debt and solve the problem.
Owing £200 or more is another problem as suppliers block accounts for switching because of the size of the debt.
Energy companies will chase for any money owed. The first step for anyone owing money to a gas or electricity supplier is to contact them and talk the problem through.
Write or phone, but if discussing finances on the phone, always follow up with a letter confirming any payment arrangements.
Many energy companies will agree an informal payment plan, similar to a financial management plan for credit card, loan or overdraft debts.
These plans reschedule the amount owed over a longer period - this will affect a credit rating as the payments will show as missed or late amounts.
Householders already on a repayment plan that is falling behind again can try renegotiating the agreement. If special circumstances apply, like serious illness or bereavement of a close relative, the firm may be sympathetic.
At some stage, the gas or electricity supplier may threaten disconnection. If this happens, ask about switching the supply to a prepayment meter. The energy firm will set the tariff so the money going in to the meter is pay-as-you-go for the supply plus a little extra towards any debt.
Nowadays, prepayment meters are topped up with cards or tokens. Like a mobile phone, rather than cash.
Although prepayment meters are typically more expensive than quarterly billed energy supplies, they do put the consumer in charge of how much they spend.
Energy debts are often a symptom of more far-reaching debts problems.
As a priority debt, any financial management adviser will ensure they are paid first along with other living costs like rent or mortgage payments, food, council tax and water bills.
--- ENDS ---
Notes to editors:
- Money Debt and Credit is one of the UK's fastest growing financial solution companies.
- The company was founded in 2006 on the belief that every client has the right to appropriate financial advice. Since then we've gone from strength to strength and have helped thousands of people with a variety of financial solutions.
- We offer a range of services including Financial Management Plans, IVA s, Loans, Mortgages, Full & Final Settlements, Bankruptcy, Investments and Pensions.
- Specialties: IVA s, Financial Management Plans, Loans, Mortgages, Trust Deeds, Full and Final Settlements, Bankruptcy
For more information or debt advice contact:
Money Debt and Credit
45 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1SZ
Tel. 0800 16 999 46
Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net