Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help moneyhelper.org.uk | Representative APR 89.9%
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help moneyhelper.org.uk

Loans for Unexpected Energy Bills

There are better ways of dealing with energy debt

Rising energy bills are contributing to an increase in people looking for additional funds to help them cover their essential spending. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, households on low incomes will be spending, on average, 18% of their income after housing costs on energy bills from April.

If you’ve received an energy bill you weren’t expecting, or if your regular bills have become unexpectedly high, then taking out a loan to pay the bill is unlikely to be the best choice. Instead, you should contact your energy supplier, who is bound by a code of conduct to help. This guide from Sunny can help you understand the steps to take in resolving an unexpected or expensive bill with your energy company and how to avoid being caught out by this again in the future.

Energy Bill Figure or Different Households in the UK

Average Cost of Gas & Electricity Bills in the UK by House Size

Gas & Electric Usage Average cost per Month Average Annual Cost
Flat or 1 bedroom house (1/2 people) £109.33 £1,312
3 bedroom house (2-3 people) £152.83 £1,834
5-bedroom house (4-5 people) £216.33 £2,596

 

Average Cost of Gas Bills in the UK by House Size

Gas Usage Average cost per Month Average Annual Cost
Flat or 1 bedroom house (1/2 people) £52.08 £625
3 bedroom house (2-3 people) £75.08 £901
5-bedroom house (4-5 people) £106.66 £1,280

 

Average Cost of Gas Bills in the UK by House Size

Gas & Electric Usage Average cost per Month Average Annual Cost
Flat or 1 bedroom house (1/2 people) £57.25 £687
3 bedroom house (2-3 people) £77.75 £933
5-bedroom house (4-5 people) £109.66 £1,316

 

The above data is taken from British Gas

 

How to Deal with an Energy Bill Issue

All energy suppliers follow a code of conduct which means they must take certain steps to help you before cutting your supply. If you’ve received an energy bill that is more expensive than you thought it would be or has come out of the blue, and you’re not able to pay it from your normal disposable income, then follow these steps to pay the bill and, if you’re not able to, get the help that you need:

If your bill is much higher than usual or you were not anticipating one landing, here are the steps to take:

  • Call your energy provider – Contact their customer services team and explain the situation. They may look into the bill to double-check check it is all correct and could even work with you to set up a repayment plan to help you spread the cost.
  • Dip into your savings – If you have any savings, use these first. It may delay whatever you are working towards, but your energy bill must be paid, as missed or delayed payments can impact your credit rating.
  • Ask friends and family for help – Your parents, siblings or close friends may have the spare cash you need to cover the cost of your bill. You can then pay them back later.

Alternatively, you can apply for a short-term loan that can be used to pay the bill and then repay it over an agreed time. This is something Sunny can help with. Our broker partner’s panel of lenders provides short-term loans that people can turn to in such a time, to pay the bill and spread the cost of paying back the borrowed amount over a period of 3 – 36 months. find out more about short-term loans.

 

How to avoid large energy bills in the future

There are ways to cut back the costs of your energy bills to avoid overly large bills coming through the letterbox.

1. Switch to a smart meter 

Unlike usual meters, smart meters are equipped with sensors and advanced technological features which detect how you’re using energy in real time. These devices monitor your energy consumption, including gas usage, electric usage, and water usage. This information can be accessed through online portals or mobile apps with your suppliers, allowing customers to manage and spot regular trends within their weekly or monthly usage. By identifying these trends, customers can manage their monthly billings and spending in line with this.

2. Consider switching energy supplier or tariff 

The vast majority of people never switch energy providers and so are missing out on the savings to be had from switching. Use a comparison site to look around and find an energy supplier that provides what you need, for less.

3. Manage your energy usage

Easier said than done but small changes can make a big difference. According to Energy Saving Trust, a household could typically save £60-£70 a year just by switching off ‘vampire devices’ – so named because they drain power when left on standby mode. You may need to leave devices such as your Wi-Fi, fridge and freezer, or satellite box on, but most appliances can be turned off when not in use.

You could also try spending less time in the shower. Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert says that shaving just one minute off your shower time could result in a saving of £207 per year in energy bills and a further £105 annually in water bills if you have a meter – making a total saving of £312 a year for an average four-person household. If you thin you’re already doing everything you can to keep your energy bills down, think outside the box!

Related: 8 Ways To Save On Your Energy Bills

 

Look into benefits and grants available

There are a range of grants and cost-saving benefits schemes available, we’ve listed some of these below. Look into them to determine if you are eligible to save some money when it comes to your energy.

  • The Winter Fuel Payment – This is an annual one-off payment of £100 to £300 to cover the cost of heating during the winter and is available to those born on or before the 5th of August 1953.
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme – This scheme may be available if you are on a low income or receiving the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit. Not all suppliers offer this scheme but if you are eligible and your supplier can help, you could enjoy a saving of £140 on your electricity bill.
  • See if your energy supplier offers grants – Certain suppliers provide grants via a charitable trust to help you pay your bills and British Gas, E.on, EDF, Npower and Scottish Power offer this.
  • Cold Weather Payments – If the average temperature in your area is forecasted to be below zero degrees for seven consecutive days, between November and March, you can apply for Cold Weather Payments which are one-off payments to help you pay higher bills. Those who receive Income Support, Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit or income-related Employment and Support Allowance are eligible to apply.

Whether you rent your home, are a first-time buyer, or are a current homeowner looking at changing your energy supplier, doing your research, keeping a close eye on your energy bills and managing your monthly ingoing and outgoings is important. With multiple loans available, Sunny can help advise you in the right direction. For more information on budgeting your money, browse our range of articles.

Representative 89% APR

Representative Example: Borrowing: £1000 for 18 months, Total Repayable: £1853.43, Total Interest: £853.43, Interest Rate (Variable): 89.9%. Rates between 9.3% APR and 1721% APR – your no-obligation quote and APR will be based on your personal circumstances. Loan term lengths from 3 to 36 months. Subject to lender’s requirements and approval.

Sunny Loans is a registered trading name of Upward Finance Limited, who is an introducer appointed representative of Flux Funding Limited, who is a credit broker, not a lender. Loan repayment terms are 3-36 month loans.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to www.moneyhelper.org.uk.

Need a loan?

If you’ve considered all your options to cover the cost of a larger than expected energy bill and have decided you need a loan for your utility bill, we can help. With short-term loans from £100 to £2,500 available, we offer a lifeline when unexpected bills land.

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