The energy price cap was raised again this month, with bills to go up to on average £3,459 on October 1. Experts at Cornwall Insight have warned the price cap could increase to £5,386.71 on January 1, 2023 and £6,616.37 on April 1, 2023.
Many suppliers have funds and other support in place to help consumers having problems paying their bills, including OVO Energy.
Those who cannot afford their bills can set up a payment plan specific to their financial situation.
The plans spread out the cost of what is owed over time, to make the payments more manageable for the customer.
A payment plan can be set up online through the OVO Energy website and can be put in place immediately.
The person will need to provide details about their situation, with the information kept confidential.
This can include recent bank statements and bills or the customer can type in the information themself, which takes about 45 minutes.
Details will also be needed about the person’s salary, mortgage payments or rent, and their outgoings on bills, food and other essentials.
This information will help the supplier get a picture of the customer’s situation, to put together a payment plan.
A fixed amount will be agreed, to be paid over a set period of time, on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
Some of the payment will go towards repaying the debt, while some of the amount will pay for the gas and electricity they are currently using.
If a person cannot keep up with the payments, they can contact the supplier to amend the plan to fit what they can pay.
OVO Energy also has a team who can advise on energy debt and talk a customer through the other support that is available.
Customers also have the option to install a pay as you go meter, similar to a top-up mobile phone.
This saves a person from having to use special keys or cards when topping up, although they can choose to top up at a dedicated shop.
Smart meters can be installed for free and people can top up the meter wherever they are at any time, using the OVO Energy Top-up app.
The smart meter also provides an extra £5 emergency credit if needed, while traditional meters have the risk of running out of credit.
The supplier will never cut off a person’s energy even if they have used up their emergency credit on weekdays from 9pm to 9am.
They will also never cut off supply between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays or on Sundays.
This is to keep a person safe and to provide time for them to top up at their local shop.
Consumers repaying a debt through their meter will spend some of their payments towards the debt and some towards their current energy use.