Getting back on top of energy and water debt

Having a clear plan will make it easier to get out of debt. Here is a 3-step plan for getting on top of energy and water debt.

Get support from your supplier(s)

Water and energy companies offer support to customers who need help paying debt. There are some things they must do for you (because of rules and guidelines). Many also give extra help to customers who need it.

This can include:

First, find out what support your suppliers must offer you, and any extra support they may offer. The advice lower down on this page will help you.

Then, write down all the support options you’d like to ask them about.

Lastly, contact your supplier to ask for support.

If you don’t know who your suppliers are

If you don’t know who supplies your:

5 ways your energy and water suppliers could help you get on top of debt

Affordable repayment plans

There is a rule that says your energy supplier must offer you an affordable repayment plan if you do not have enough money for your repayments. Water suppliers have similar guidelines.

When you make an affordable repayment plan you:

  • work with your supplier to figure out how much you can afford to pay towards your debt each week or month,
  • should be able to repay your debt and pay for ongoing heat and power at the same time
  • do not have to agree to pay more than you can afford.

Making a household budget can help you figure out how much money you have left to pay off debt.

If you have an affordable repayment plan but can’t afford the repayments now, tell your supplier. They will work with you to update your plan.


Debt support schemes

Many energy and water suppliers have schemes or grants for customers who need help paying debt. They do not have to do this. But, many choose to.

What you need to know about debt support schemes:

  • Each supplier has their own rules for these schemes
  • If you qualify, the schemes can pay some or all of the money you owe to your supplier
  • You can find out if your water supplier offers any debt schemes by visiting their website or contacting them

You can find out if your energy suppliers has a hardship grant and how to apply here


Checking if you could switch to a cheaper tariff to save money

You can ask your water, gas, and electricity suppliers to check if you are on the best tariff for you.

If you aren’t, you could save money by switching to a cheaper or social tariff. Find out more about switching tariffs.


Checking if you could get money towards your energy bills

You can ask your electricity supplier if you can get the Warm Home Discount.

What you need to know about Warm Home Discount: 

  • This pays £150 off your electricity bill.
  • Not all suppliers take part in this scheme.
  • You must live in Scotland, Wales, or England and meet other rules to get it.
  • Find out what the rules are for the Warm Home Discount where you live: England, Wales or Scotland.


Checking if you could get money towards making your home cost less to run

There are some schemes that pay for some or all of the work needed to make your home cost less to run. This could be:

  • putting in floor, loft, or wall insulation,
  • a new boiler or heating system
  • draught-proofing windows and doors.

Your energy supplier may be able to check if you could get money from a scheme like this. Or, you can check our list of energy efficiency schemes.

Get debt advice

Getting help and advice from a debt charity or service can help you get out of debt faster and with less stress.

If you think it would help, get in touch with one of these debt services.

Free help and advice for getting out of all your debt

StepChange helps people to get out of debt. They can:

  • work with you to make a budget,
  • put together a plan to get you out of debt, and even
  • talk to the companies you owe money to so you don’t have to.

You can make a debt advice appointment with StepChange here. Or, by calling 0800 138 1111


Free energy and water debt advice

LEAP can help you stay warm and spend less on energy. They can:

  • give you free energy advice, and
  • help you get funding to make your home less costly to run.

You can make a telephone or face to face appointment with LEAP on their website or by calling 0800 060 7567

Make changes to your home that help you stay warm and spend less

By making 12 small, low cost changes to your home, you could save around £440 per year on your bills. Even just 1 or 2 changes can make a difference. Take a look at our easy, low-cost tips to help you save hundreds on your energy bills.

You may also be able to get money from grants or schemes that pay for bigger changes to your home that make it cost less to run. These could be:

  •  a new heating system,
  • loft, floor, or wall insulation, or
  • a boiler upgrade.

Find out about energy efficiency grants.

If you have other debts – like credit cards or loans – see our guide to getting on top of household debt.

Free help and advice for life’s challenges

Whatever the issue, Citizens Advice can help. Visit the Citizens Advice website to get advice and information about the challenges you are facing.