There are many different ways of paying your energy bills. Choosing the right one for you can be confusing and overwhelming. Read this guide to get an idea of which method will suit you best. Compare energy suppliers and save over £350* in five minutes!
Compare energy suppliers and save over £350* in five minutes!
Paying for gas and electricity by Direct Debit is the best way to ensure you are paying your bills on time. It is also often the cheapest option as energy suppliers offer discounts for the convenience of paying by Direct Debit.
Direct Debit payments will come out of your account on, or around an agreed date. You will need to make sure your payments are enough to cover your energy usage.
You can choose to pay your Direct Debit monthly or quarterly.
If you choose to pay you energy Direct Debit monthly, your payments will come out on or around the same date each month.
It is important that your payments cover your monthly energy bill, but remember this will fluctuate due to changes in your energy usage. It is unlikely you will pay exactly the right amount. Don’t worry, underpaying or overpaying on your Direct Debit is common.
Paying by monthly Direct Debit is usually the cheapest option. Energy suppliers often provide discounts for the convenience of your monthly payments.
If you choose a quarterly Direct Debit payment then your energy bill will be paid on or around the same date every three months. This means you will be paying for three months’ worth of energy use.Your individual quarterly Direct Debit payments will be higher, but over a year it tends to cost the same as monthly Direct Debits.
Some suppliers offer discounts for paying quarterly, although it is usually not as much as for monthly payments.
If you regularly overpay on your Direct Debit then you will build up credit on your account. This means that your energy payments will come down.
If you choose to switch energy supplier while your account is in credit then you can claim money back from your supplier.
If you regularly underpay you will build up debt on your account meaning your energy supplier will increase your Direct Debit to cover this.
If you build up too much debt your supplier can stop you switching until you have repaid your debt.
If you are worried about energy debt it may be worth contacting your supplier to arrange a repayment plan.
You may also choose to pay your energy bills upon receipt. This means you make your payments when you receive your energy bill.
Usually, your energy bill will arrive every three months. It should include an accurate reflection of the amount of energy used during the previous quarter.
If you pay upon receipt you can choose to make payments by phone, by cash or cheque, or online. It is your responsibility to remember to pay on time.
Unfortunately, energy suppliers don’t offer discounts for customers paying upon receipt so your bills will be higher than if you were making Direct Debit payments.
You can still benefit from comparing energy suppliers to find a better deal.
A prepayments meter allows you to pay for energy usage upfront using a top-up key or token.
Most homeowners choose to avoid prepayment meters as they are typically the most expensive way to pay for gas and electricity. However landlords commonly choose prepayment meters as they ensure tenants cannot accumulate debt on an energy account.
If you are a tenant and wish to switch from a prepayment meter then you must contact your landlord.
Some energy suppliers offer apps where you can pay your energy bill online. These also let you track your energy usage and your account balance.
The benefit of using an app to pay your bills is being able to top up without needing to visit a shop. Tracking your energy use can also help you keep your costs low.
A payment card is a flexible way of spreading the costs of your gas and electricity. They are cards which you top up at the Post Office or a PayPoint shop. They offer the flexibility of being able to top up whenever you can afford it.
A payment card can help you keep on top of your budget because no money will be automatically taken from your account.
Payments will show up on your quarterly bill and you will need to pay any outstanding balance whenever you get your next energy bill.
Fuel Direct lets your repay energy debt directly from your benefits. It can help to make sure your bills are paid and help you manage your budget more easily.
If you receive:
• Universal credit.
• Pension credit.
• Income-related employment and support allowance.
• Income support.
• Income-based jobseeker’s allowance.
They you may be eligible for Fuel Direct.
The way you pay your energy bills does affect the amount you pay but so does your energy supplier.
If you feel your bills are unaffordable it may be worth switching supplier. Compare energy suppliers to see if you could be paying less for your energy.