As you may have seen recently in the news, the price of energy is going up. This means that for many of us, the increase of direct debit amounts is inevitable, however there are things that we can check to make sure that the jump is not for other reasons.
The first thing you should do is check that you are not paying estimated bills. When you do not have a smart meter installed or have not provided regular meeting readings to your supplier, then the energy company may send bills based on an estimation of your usage.
The easiest way to ensure that you are being billed correctly is to provide regular meter readings. This can normally be done through supplier websites and apps, but you can also call them to provide this information.
Contact information for your supplier can be found on bills and statements, or on your energy suppliers’ website. With energy prices increasing from the 1st of April, it is important to ensure you provide a reading prior to this date to make sure you are billed accurately.
Additionally, energy companies are working to move customers on to smart meters, which automatically update accounts with readings electronically. Your supplier can provide information on when smart meters will be available to you if they are not already.
If you feel that your direct debit is being increased artificially based on winter usage, then you can highlight this to your supplier to see if there is anything that they can do to reduce payments. It should be noted though, that usage is usually projected across the year, allowing you to build up credit for the winter months, a time when you typically go through more energy.
Adjusting your direct debit amount just now will mean that there will not be a credit on your account come the winter to provide a cushion for this increased usage, and may mean another large bill.
Sources of Support
If you are struggling with energy costs, there are sources of support that can help. It is important to discuss this with your supplier in the first instance to see if there is anything that they can do to assist you.
Advice Direct Scotland run energyadvice.scot, providing free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters to the citizens of Scotland. This includes advice on billing; energy meters; grants and assistance; loss of supply; and much more.
For more information, visit www.energyadvice.scot, or call 0808 196 8660 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm).
If you are already struggling financially in other areas, you do not need to face these problems on your own and help is at hand. moneyadvice.scot provide free information and support on a wide range of debt-related issues.
Their specialist debt advisers can work with you to assess your current situation, look at your income and outgoings, and consider what to do next. There are several options available, including assessing your entitlement to benefits, grants, and other sources of support if you are struggling.
More information can be found by visiting www.moneyadvice.scot, or by calling 0808 800 9060 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm).