If you are worried about paying your energy bills, you should talk to your supplier and find out what help they can offer. You should also visit their website. If you tell your supplier that you have cancer, they may be able to offer you support.
Your tariff is the rate you pay for your energy. When you contact your supplier, you should ask them if they can offer you a cheaper tariff so that you pay less. If this is not an option, you could think about switching your supplier.
Your supplier may also be able to:
- put your name on a list of customers who need extra care or support
- provide a grant to help with money you may owe them
- arrange for you to make regular payments to spread your costs.
The Priority Services Register (England, Scotland and Wales)
If you are affected by cancer and you live in England, Scotland or Wales, your supplier should place you on the Priority Services Register. This is a list for people who need extra care.
Some benefits of this may include:
- access to free extra services
- your energy not being cut off if you fall behind on payments.
Care registers (Northern Ireland)
Northern Ireland Electricity and Northern Ireland Water have critical care registers for people who strongly rely on electricity or water for their health needs. Customers on these registers will get extra support if their power or water supply stops working.
Energy companies in Northern Ireland also have customer care registers. Customers who are disabled, elderly or have certain health needs can join these registers to get free extra services. Contact the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland to compare the extra services offered by different companies.
Company funds and trusts
Your energy supplier may be able to provide a grant to help with your energy costs. The help they give will depend on your situation. Most of the major energy companies have funds or trusts that:
- help people in difficult situations, by reducing their bills or granting them money to reduce their debt
- help people make their homes more energy efficient, which can reduce their energy bills.
Some trusts, including the British Gas Energy Trust and the E.ON Energy Trust, can help clear debts you might have with other energy suppliers.
A booklet called Help with water and energy bills has details of the funds and trusts offered by the major energy companies in England, Scotland and Wales. You can download a copy on the Auriga website For details of support available in Northern Ireland, contact Bryson Energy.
Your energy suppliers may allow you to set up a regular payment plan. This means you pay a fixed amount on a regular basis (for example every week or month). This can help you spread the cost of your bills and help you to budget for your energy costs.
You could also pay your bills monthly by Direct Debit or online, to help you keep track of your energy costs.
Support from npower
Since 2004, npower has been working with Macmillan to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry.
This partnership includes npower’s Macmillan Fund, which can help people living with cancer by capping bills and writing off debt. npower also funds Energy Advisers on the Macmillan Support Line.
Complaints and advice
If you have a problem with your energy supplier or need advice about dealing with a company, contact:
- the Citizens Advice consumer service in England, Scotland or Wales on 0845 404 0506
- Consumerline in Northern Ireland on 0300 123 6262.
Try to resolve the complaint with the company if you can. If this isn’t possible, you could contact the Ombudsman Services: Energy (in England, Scotland and Wales), or the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.
If you need help with your energy costs, you should always contact your supplier and ask what help they offer. You could also visit their website.