A person with red painted fingernails putting their hands up against a radiator.

Are you worried that your energy may be cut off? 

Published: 23 January 2024

Last updated on 18 April 2024

You may have seen a recent news story about people being unable to pay their bills and their energy supply being cut off. If you are worried about your energy bills, there is support available.

A dark green pen on a light green background.

Maria Lavery Senior Information Development Nurse at Macmillan

Struggling with energy bills? 

You may have seen reports on BBC news about people possibly having their energy cut off this winter.
This is often because people can’t afford to top up their prepayment meter. 

We understand this is a worrying time for people with cancer. You may have already cut back on everyday essentials like heating costs…but still be struggling to pay bills. There is help available.  

Below are some of the questions we get asked at Macmillan with links to advice and support.


Why are people having their energy cut off? 

With the removal of government support schemes, average energy costs are as high as last winter for many people. Research shows more than five million people live in homes that are in debt to their energy supplier. This puts them at risk of debt collection or being moved on to a prepayment meter. Customers who can’t afford to keep topped up could be at risk of disconnection.

Citizens Advice predict that more than two million people may be at risk of their gas and electricity being cut off this winter if they can’t afford to top up their meter.   

What can I do if I can’t pay my energy bills or top up my prepayment meter? 

If you are having difficulties paying your gas and electric bills, contact your suppliers.  

They should work with you to review your situation and discuss options for a payment plan. 

You might be able to get help by joining the Priority Services Register. This is a free support service designed to give priority help to people who need it most. Find out more about getting this extra support from your energy supplier.

I can’t talk to someone at my energy company. Who can I talk to?

We understand this is a worrying time for people with cancer. You might find it helpful to talk to our energy advisors or one of our other support line teams.

You could also find out if you can claim for help with your household bills. Learn more about how we can support you if you need:

We have energy advisers who can review what advice and support may be available to you. You can make a phone appointment with an energy adviser by contacting the Macmillan Support Line.

Call the Macmillan Support Line for free on 0808 808 00 00 

Our Energy advisors are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Our Welfare rights advisers are also available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, as well as 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.

What kind of help can I get with my energy bills?

The rising cost of living means that many people affected by cancer have had tough choices to make. We know living with less money can be a struggle, particularly if you’ve had to stop working or reduce your hours because of cancer.

If you are on benefits or have pensioners in your household, you may be eligible for a Warm Home Discount or a Winter Fuel Payment.

Every 3 months Ofgem review and set a level on how much an energy supplier can charge for each unit of energy. Find out more on the Ofgem website

Other useful contacts

If you would like to read more about energy advice we have some booklets that you can read online: 

Or you can order free copies at Be.Macmillan.