Step 3 Dealing with your priority debts

​Business gas and electricity

Gas and electricity companies can cut off your supply in a few weeks if you don’t pay them, but they should only do this as a last resort. They must give you notice first.

How do I make a payment arrangement?

The energy supplier will usually want you to pay their bill before the next bill is due. You can ask to pay your bills every week, every two weeks or every month. If you have arrears, phone or write to the supplier and ask for a payment arrangement.

Use Your budget to support your offer of payment. This must cover the cost of the energy you are using and an amount to reduce the arrears. Even if the supplier does not agree to your offer, start paying what you have offered immediately. Do not offer to pay more than you can afford towards the arrears.

Ask if the supplier has a special department that deals with arrears and payment arrangements. If the first person you speak to is unhelpful, ask to speak to someone more senior.

Extra advice:

what if I live at my business premises?

Your energy supplier may have to offer you a prepayment meter before disconnecting you if you live at your business premises. This depends on what type of contract you have with your energy supplier. You may pay more for your energy if you have a meter fitted but, once you have one, your supplier cannot disconnect you. Contact us for advice.

By law, your supplier must give you 7 days’ notice before they disconnect you. Contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 0345 404 0506 if you have been disconnected from your energy supply or threatened with disconnection, or your prepayment meter has stopped giving you energy.  If you are a pensioner, or you have long-term ill health, or you are disabled, you might get extra help to sort out your energy problems.

Complaints

If you complain to your energy supplier and you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the Ombudsman Services: Energy. They are an independent organisation that will investigate your complaint and make recommendations about how it should be sorted out.