Advice Column: Energy Costs

Thursday 6th December 2018

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column we focus on energy costs.

 I am behind on my energy bills and my energy company wants to install a prepayment meter. I don’t want one as I’ve heard they can be more expensive than paying by direct debit. What can I do?

Suppliers may try to install a prepayment meter if you are falling behind on your bills. This is so you can pay for your energy by topping up your meter before you use it, and don’t get into debt.

If you don’t want to pay for energy in this way, contact your supplier to tell them you are struggling with your bills. They should help you agree a repayment plan, based on how much you can afford and how much energy you use. If you are already on a plan but can’t afford it, see if you can make a new arrangement.

Also discuss with your supplier the costs of the different meters and tariffs. Once you’ve agreed to pay back your debts, your supplier won’t install a prepayment meter if you don’t want one.

There are further steps you can take to help you with your bills. You may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount, which could reduce your energy bill by £140, or a one off Cold Weather Payment from the government.

Some energy companies also offer grants to their customers to pay off fuel debts, while other companies and charities have grants which are open to anyone.

For further help visit

Look out for our column next week when we focus on illegal money lending.

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date version, please visit the Citizens Advice website at