COVID-19: advice if you're struggling to pay your energy bills
If you are worried about paying your gas and electricity bills due to the impact of COVID-19, help is available. You can contact your energy supplier, explore payment choices, ask for help or get free confidential advice.
Contact your energy supplier
You should contact your energy supplier as soon as possible if you think you might have a problem paying a bill.
Based on individual circumstances, your supplier may offer support such as:
- reassessing, reducing or pausing debt repayment and bill payments for domestic customers in financial distress
- referring customers who are struggling to pay bills to organisations like Advice NI who offer free, independent debt advice
Electricity and gas suppliers will support those prepayment meter customers who have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 to stay on supply - so you aren’t cut off from your electricity or gas supply.
You should contact your supplier for help, as soon as possible, if you are struggling.
Explore payment options
If you are struggling with bills, it is better to agree a payment plan with your supplier rather than cancelling direct debits and letting debt build up.
Free and confidential advice
If you are struggling, free advice is available. COVID-19 has affected everyone and many of us need support now, even if we never have needed it before.
If you are worried about debt or have already missed a payment you should consider getting free, confidential and independent debt advice. You can contact:
- the government sponsored Money Advice Service (part of the Money & Pensions Service) can help you find support - a range of options are available from its Debt advice locator
- the Advice NI Money Talks service has information to help manage your money
More information about energy
The Consumer Council offers an energy price comparison tool to compare electricity and gas tariffs for all suppliers in Northern Ireland. This could help you save money on your electricity or gas bill. They also give free advice and can investigate complaints about natural gas and electricity.
The new Natural Gas NI website has been launched by the natural gas industry to help support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll find information about the gas network operators, who the suppliers are and the support the companies give.
The NI Energy advice line also offers free comprehensive advice on saving energy in the home, energy efficiency grants and more help that may be available to you.