If you are having problems with your gas or electricity, there are ways to get help. Here is what you need to know about handling problems with your energy service.
If you are unhappy with your energy service, you can complain to your supplier:
Write to them, either by letter or email. Keep records of any communication you have with your supplier.
Wait for a response. Your supplier may ask to visit you to take a meter reading, or they may write to you to resolve your complaint.
Go to Citizens Advice. You can get free advice from the Citizens Advice website which could help with your complaint.
Speak to Ofgem. If you are unhappy with the response you get from your supplier, you can speak to the energy regulator Ofgem after 8 weeks.
You may be able to get money back from your energy company if:
Your account is in credit
You have switched and your old supplier owes you money
You have been overcharged
Contact your energy company or your old supplier and give them your account number, which can be found on a bill, and explain why you think you are owed money. You should also give them an up to date meter reading.
If your account is in credit, your energy supplier may encourage you to leave the money in your account, but the decision is up to you and you can ask for a full refund.
Think about reducing your direct debit payments to prevent this happening again, but make sure you pay enough to cover the cost of your gas and electricity.
If your supplier does not give you the money you are owed, you can contact the Energy Ombudsman to make a complaint.
There are several steps you can take to restore your power and stay safe while you are without electricity:
Check your fuse box has not tripped
Check your prepayment meter has credit
Check with your neighbours
Contact your local distribution company
Make sure you have a torch with you
Turn off electrical appliances and lights
You can also call UK Power Networks free of charge on 105 to report the problem.
Yes, if you are without power for over 24 hours you may be able to claim up to £700.
You can claim compensation for a power cut if:
The power cut is the fault of your energy supplier
The outage was planned and you did not get at least two days' notice
You should contact your electricity distributor and make your claim within three months of your power being reconnected.
The energy regulator Ofgem has more information about your right to compensation if you experience a power cut.
If you smell gas at home, you need to act quickly to keep yourself safe:
Call the National Gas Emergency Service: You can contact the National Grid service 24 hours a day on 0800 111 999. They can arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to visit your home to fix any problems, and explain what else you should do.
Turn off your gas: If your home has a gas control valve, switch this off. It can usually be found next to your gas meter, but the National Gas Emergency Service can help you find it if you are having trouble.
Open your windows and doors: This helps to ventilate your home and may help with symptoms of nausea or dizziness.
Do not use electrical switches: Avoid switching on any lights or appliances, and do not light any flames.
Tell your neighbours: This lets them take precautions to stay safe, but can also help you assess the extent of the problem.
If you have just moved into your home, ask the person who lived there last or your landlord for the name of your gas and electricity supplier.
You can call the Meter Number Helpline on 0870 608 1524 to find your gas supplier. Calls cost 7p a minute, and they can also tell you your Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN), which lets you identify your gas meter.
If you need to find out who supplies your electricity, you should contact your local distribution company:
|North Scotland||0800 300 999|
|Central and South Scotland||0800 092 9290|
|North East England||0800 668 877|
|North West England||0800 195 4141|
|Yorkshire||0800 375 675|
|Merseyside, Cheshire, North Shropshire & North Wales||0800 001 5400|
|Eastern England & South East England||0845 6015 467|
|Southern England||0800 072 7282|
|South West England, South Wales, West & East Midlands||0800 6783 105|
|London||0800 028 0247|
|Northern Ireland||0345 764 3643|
If you are having problems paying your gas or electricity bills, you should contact your supplier to find out what you owe and agree a way to pay them back.
They must offer you other options before cutting off your energy supply, like:
A plan to pay back any debts in fixed lump sums
Different payment options, like direct debit or a prepayment meter
A cheaper tariff
If you are still struggling, there are other things you can do to get help with your energy bills:
If you claim benefits, you may be able to access schemes and grants that can help you pay your energy bills. GOV.UK can help you find out what benefits you can claim.
You may be able to get help from:
Fuel Direct: This lets you use your benefits payments to pay your energy bills. You can use Universal Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, or Pension Credit. Contact Jobcentre Plus for more details.
Warm Home Discount: You could get up to £140 off your electricity bill if you get Pension Credit or if you are on a low income. You can check if you can get help with your energy supplier, or by going to the GOV.UK website.
Winter Fuel Payment: An annual one off payment helps you pay for heating in the winter. Most people aged 63 or over can get help with winter fuel, and you could get between £100 and £300 depending on your age and circumstances.
Cold Weather Payments: This is a one off payment to help you pay for extra heating when it is very cold. You may have a right to help if you already get Pension Credit, Income Support, or Jobseeker's Allowance. The GOV.UK website has more details.
Your supplier may also offer grants, so call them to discuss your options.
Citizens Advice can give you free, independent advice on how to deal with debt.
National Debtline also offers free advice over the phone if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. You can call them on 0808 808 4000.
You may be able to get help from the Government, your energy supplier or your local council to make your home more energy efficient and save on your energy bills.
Read our guide to saving money on your gas and electricity for more information on making your home more energy efficient.