Gas and electricity arrears

Fuel suppliers must offer you a pre-payment meter as an alternative to disconnection. Paying in this way can however be expensive and, if you run out of money, you may have no fuel. So treat the arrears as a priority.


If you are in arrears

Contact your supplier as soon as possible and offer to pay the arrears in a way that suits you, at an amount you can afford.
All suppliers offer cheaper deals for people in certain vulnerable circumstances and some also have Trust Funds that can pay off arrears in certain circumstances.
Look at the Trust Fund websites if you buy fuel from EDF Energy or British Gas.

How much should I offer to pay?

Use your financial statement to work out what you can afford. If you get Income support, income-related Employment Support Allowance, Pension Credit or income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance, you can ask the DWP to deduct, direct from your benefit, your current fuel costs and an amount towards the arrears.
Your fuel supplier estimates the cost of the fuel you are using and a set amount, currently £3.70 a week, is added for arrears. If deductions cannot be made from any benefit, your fuel supplier will expect considerably more than this. But do not offer more than you can afford.
If your fuel supplier will agree, you may find it best to arrange to pay a monthly amount that covers your average monthly fuel costs plus an amount towards the arrears.
If you are sorting out debt problems, start at the beginning of this guidance, otherwise you may miss valuable information.

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