Energy advice

Ways to get financial support

If you’re struggling financially or you’re worried about your energy bills, we’re here to support you. Find out about the different ways we can help here.

What can I do if I can’t pay my energy bill?

Please know that we’ve supported lots of people in similar situations – and we can support you too.

Some of the ways we can help are here:

  • Together, we could come up with a payment plan that’s tailored to your financial situation. Payment plans spread the cost of what’s owed over time, to help make it more manageable. Find out more about them here.
  • We can give you details for other payment schemes, to make sure you’re getting the financial assistance you’re entitled to. You’ll find information on these schemes further down the page.
  • Our dedicated team can also give advice on energy debt and talk you through more support that’s available. 
  • They can offer guidance on where to find free, independent advice as well (you’ll find this further down the page too).  

How we can support you with your energy costs

Payment plans

A payment plan spreads the cost of your energy to make it more manageable. It’s tailored to your personal financial situation. If you want to find out about payment plans, you can request one online here – we’ll take you through what you need to do, and ask you for some details. You can also speak to us about setting up a payment plan, when you contact our team.

What kind of payment plan will you offer me?

Using the information you give us, we’ll help you come up with a payment plan that fits your circumstances. Together, we’ll agree on a fixed amount, to be paid over a set period of time. The payments are made on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. 

Some of the money will go towards repaying the debt, and some will go towards the gas and electricity you’re currently using. This way, you don’t have to pay a large lump sum all at once – you can pay off what’s owed gradually, over time. The aim is to make your energy costs more manageable. 

What happens if I can’t keep to the plan?

If you find you’re having trouble keeping up with the payments, please get in touch with our team. Together, we can find a solution and tailor your payment plan to what’s affordable for you. 

Deciding to install a Pay As You Go meter

A Pay As You Go meter is like any other Pay As You Go device, such as a mobile phone. You pay for your energy before you use it, by topping up, rather than paying a bill afterwards. It’s a good way to budget, clear debt and make sure you don’t get any unexpected big bills.

Unfortunately, your energy might cost more on Pay As You Go. Pay As You Go prices are variable, so they could go up and down in future. We’ll always give you plenty of notice if they’re going to change.

With a smart meter in Pay As You Go mode, you can top up online. This saves you having to use special keys or cards – though you can also top up at a dedicated shop if you prefer.

You can get a brand new smart meter fitted in your home free of charge. And you can top up your credit anytime, anywhere. Just search for the OVO Energy Top-up app in the Apple App store or Google Play.

With a traditional Pay As You Go meter, there’s always the risk of running out of credit, and power. But with a smart meter you’ll have an extra £5 of emergency credit to use if needed. We also make sure that your power will never cut out as long as you have credit available on your meter at the start of these periods – even if you run out of emergency credit:

  • Between 6pm and 9am Monday to Friday
  • Before 9am or after 4pm on Saturday
  • All day on Sunday
  • And on these bank holidays: Easter Sunday, 25 and 26 December, and 1 January

This is so you can stay safe, and have enough time to top up at your local shop.

Find out more about what happens if your Pay As You Go meter runs out of credit.

If you depend on electricity for things like a ventilator or refrigerated medication, Pay As You Go probably won't be right for you. Please let us know about this when you first sign up and we'll help you choose another option.

If you've chosen to repay a debt through your meter, some of the money you put in will be used to pay off your debt, and some will pay for your current energy use. We’ll work with you to agree on a rate you can afford.

To find out more about how Pay As You Go meters work, and how one might help you, head over to our help area.

Payment schemes that can also help

These schemes are available and they offer financial support, to help pay for your energy. 

Fuel Direct Scheme 

The Fuel Direct scheme helps to pay your energy bills directly from your benefits (the scheme is run by the Department for Work and Pensions). If you receive any of the following benefits, this might be helpful for you: 

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit (but only if you’re not working)

For more information, contact Jobcentre Plus (or your pension centre if you’re on Pension Credit).

You’ll need to tell them:

  • That we’re your energy supplier
  • The amount of money that’s owed 
  • Your OVO account number
  • Your National Insurance number

If you pay as you go for your energy and would like to sign up to the Fuel Direct scheme, we’ll need to switch your meter to credit mode (pay monthly) first.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

You might be eligible for £140 credit towards your energy bills through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Unfortunately, applications have closed for this winter. They’ll reopen later in the year for next winter. You can apply if:

  • You’re on a lower income
  • You’re getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit

Find out more about the Warm Home Discount here.

Cold Weather Payment

A Cold Weather Payment might be available to you, if you’re getting certain benefits. These payments are made if the temperature in your area is forecasted or recorded to be 0C or below for over 7 days in a row. If that’s the case, you could be eligible for £25 credit for each 7-day period (between 1 November and 31 March).

You might be eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you’re getting:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

Find out more and see if you’re eligible here.

Winter Fuel Payment 

This is available to people who were born on or before 26 September 1955. It’s an annual one-off payment between £100 and £300, to help pay for your heating over the winter. 

Find out more about the Winter Fuel Payment here

Charities and organisations that offer advice and support

For free, independent advice on debt, energy bills, and other areas where you might need support, these organisations and charities can also help: 

Citizens Advice

Visit your local branch, or their websites: for England and Wales and for Scotland. You can speak to an adviser online, in person, or over the phone: 0800 144 8848 (England), 0800 702 2020 (Wales), and 0800 028 1456 (Scotland). 

National Debtline

Call 0808 808 4000 or visit their website.

Step Change Debt Charity

Call 0800 138 1111 or visit their website

Civil Legal Advice

Call 0845 345 4 345 for free, confidential legal advice in England and Wales, if you’re eligible for legal aid. Find out if you are here.

Have you heard about the Priority Services Register?

You can sign up if you or anyone in your household might need practical support, when it comes to managing your energy. That could be because of a medical reason, you’re pregnant, you have children under 5, you’re over 65, or you don’t read or speak English well.\ \ Find out more about it here.

Sources and references:

1 100% of the renewable electricity we sell is backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates (REGOs)). See here for details on Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates and how these work. A proportion of the electricity we sell is also purchased directly from renewable generators in the UK.

2 Each year, OVO plants 1 tree for every member in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so tree-planting helps to slow down climate change.

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