Rising energy bills are contributing to an increase in people looking for additional funds to help them cover their essential spending. In 2018, debt and money charity StepChange’s Behind on the Basics report noted that 13% of people who came to them for advice were behind on their electricity and gas bill payments.
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, and 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||Average cost per month||Cost over year|
|Total||£130 per month||£1,560 per year|
All energy suppliers follow a code of conduct that 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:
Consider a loan for a utility bill – You can apply for a short-term loan that can be used to pay the bill and then repaid over an agreed period of time. This is something Sunny can help with, our broker partner’s panel of lenders provide 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. Click here to find out more about short-term loans.
There are ways to cut back the costs of your energy bills to avoid overly large bills coming through the letterbox.
Switch to a prepaid meter
Prepaid meters mean you can carefully track how much you spend, as you physically top up a meter with a card or key. You pay for the energy before you use it, rather than being billed after and you can top these cards or keys up at post offices, newsagents or online. You’ll need to speak to your energy provider about changing to this type of meter. Some may do this for free but there could be a charge to consider. However, this initial cost may be worth it to avoid huge bills.
Consider switching energy supplier or tariff
You can avoid costly bills by reducing the amount your energy costs overall. The vast majority of people never switch energy provider 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.
Try to use less energy
Easier said than done but small changes can make a big difference. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save £30 a year simply by turning appliances off standby mode, that means switching them off at the wall and not leaving the red light on. You may need to leave devices such as your Wi-Fi or satellite box on but everything else can be turned off when not in use.
Spending less time in the shower – shaving off one minute a day – could also knock £7 off your water bill each year per person in your household. If you think you’re already doing everything you can to keep your energy bills down, think outside the box! Our Good Vibes guide has some unusual but effective suggestions!
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.
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.