[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”144954178X” locale=”us” height=”350″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51K5J36MMnL.jpg” width=”233″]With temperatures always a little low across the UK, many households who are already struggling to meet the constantly rising cost of domestic heating may be rightly feeling that the only thing that is not freezing solid is their bank account. While pay freezes and opportunities for overtime are notoriously scarce at the moment, bills continue to rise. If you are already dealing with mounting energy debts, what can you do to deal with the issue and how can you continue to keep the heating and the lights on?
Contact Your Supplier Before they Contact you
For those that are already in debt, the availability of payday loans online may seem like the most viable option for clearing the problem and avoiding red letters and demands from your energy supplier. Although these loans may help, these should not be your first option. The first thing to do is contact your energy supplier – they’ll be keen enough to contact you – so making the first move is always a good thing. Before calling work out what you can afford to pay – if possible arrange to do this by direct debit as this is usually the preferred method of energy companies. However, don’t be bullied into a direct debit if you can’t guarantee the payments – if your income and out-goings vary from month to month, missing a payment will only incur charges from your bank and make matters worse.
You may be more Vulnerable than you think
There are a number of ‘vulnerable’ groups whom energy companies are obliged to offer substantial help in dealing with payment issues. In terms of energy suppliers “vulnerable” groups does not however just mean the elderly or those on benefits. If you have a low income you may find that you’re classed as vulnerable and may be able to get assistance from your energy supplier or further benefits to help cover the cost of domestic bills. If you receive income support, jobseeker’s allowance, pension credit or employment related benefits you may be eligible for ‘fuel direct’ which is paid directly from these benefits to your supplier. For those over sixty, the winter fuel payment is a non-means tested annual payment – and don’t forget there are top up payments for very cold periods. Visit the “directgov” for further information on benefits for those in and out of work. Current arrangements for those on low incomes also include the ‘social tariffs’ that energy companies must offer, although these are being replaced with ‘warm home discount’ over the next few years. Contact your energy supplier for more information, or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.
Heating our homes during cold spells can mean a significant turn on the thermostat; while help is available for many people to cover these extra costs this is cold comfort when the cold weather causes burst pipes and broken boilers. If you already have significant debts on the fuel front, this additional emergency cost could seem like the final straw. For those on low incomes it may also be hard to get traditional loans to help cover the costs. In this case a payday loan application may be an option; however, before rushing to make an online application, consider the impact this will have in months to come. Again, for those on benefits contact either the “directgov” website or Citizen’s Advice Bureaux for additional advice and to check for any one-off loans or grants that you may be entitled to. While a pay day loan may be one source of emergency cash, check you can afford repayments and try to reduce the amount you borrow by applying for help from local authorities or charities. However, when the temperatures drop, having a working boiler and staying warm should take priority whatever your circumstances.
Clint Hazard is a freelance writer who contributes to financial, small business and energy sites. As temperatures drop he recommends that those on low incomes should ensure that they have all the help that they can get by considering available payday loans online to keep their warm and safe.