Utility Bills – Gas, Electricity, Water, Telephone

Utility bills are gas, electricity, water and telephone(landline) and can be cut off if you do not pay your bills (except water)

If you are you having difficulties in paying utility bills, immediately contact your provider and explain your financial situation. Make an arrangement and offer to pay an affordable amount on weekly instalments, monthly instalments or by a pre-payment meter.

Pre-payment meter as the name suggest, you will have to pay in advance to get your supply. You may use a smart card, key or token and even coins. The supply is turned off when your credit runs out.

Electricity and Gas supplier follow a code of practice and will not cut off your supply if you agree a payment plan and make regular payments until you bring the account up to date with the payment. Your ability to make a reasonable amount each month will be taken into consideration.

If the supplier is not willing to help you can make a complaint to Consumer Direct, who will provide advice and information on how to progress your complaint if you are dissatisfied with the supplier's response.

If you are being threatened with disconnection, contact Consumer Direct immediately. You can contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or you can visit their website for more information.

You may be entitled to benefits if you receive Income Support, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. Your benefits office can pay the supplier directly out of your benefit. This system is called Fuel Direct.

You may also be entitled Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 5 July 1950. This is an annual tax-free lump sum with most payments made by Christmas.

If you're on a low income or you have got extra costs because of your personal financial situation, there may well be some other benefits you could claim to pay your utility bills. It is worth checking to see if you qualify any of the benefits.

Some fuel companies have set up trust funds that may be able to help you pay your fuel bills if you are in financial difficulties. Ask your fuel company if they run a scheme.

You might be able to save some money by switching to another tariff or another supplier.

If you do not keep with your arrangement, gas, electricity and telephone supplies can be cut off.

Water companies send bills twice a year. The first bill is received in April and the second bill in October. The water companies provide you facilities to pay the bill all at once or in weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.

If you fall behind with your payments the water company cannot disconnect your supply, but they can take legal action to get their money.

There is a scheme called 'WaterSure' that may be able to help you. The flow chart on their website can help you to check if you are eligible for the WaterSure scheme.

If you have a complaint about your water company, you should speak or write to your water company first. Each water company should have a complaints procedure they can send you. Your water company should reply to your complaint within ten working days.

If you are not happy with the outcome then you can complain to CCWater. You can contact them on 0845 039 2837 or visit their website for further information.

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