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Utility Billing and Payment

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 29 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Consumer Right Utility Billing Payment

One thing seems certain about utility bills - each one you receive is larger than the last. But whatever the size, they need to be paid. The constant rate hikes have an adverse effect on everyone's budget.

Utility Billing

Can you save money on your utility bills? It's quite possible. The first thing you should do is gather your bills for the last year and total up just how much you've spent. Then you should examine the contract you're on with your supplier. Is it a rolling contract or fixed term? If the latter, you need to know when it ends and its terms - if you try to change beforehand you might incur a penalty.

Evaluate your tariff. Economy 7 might be a good option, depending on your needs, although you need to be aware of the restrictions on each tariff. You can compare the prices of different utilities, be they gas, electricity or water at a number sites. You can buy your gas and electricity from the provider of your choice.

Utility Payment

There are some ways you can save on what you pay for your utilities. Arranging to pay by direct debit if you're a "dual fuel" customer of a company, can bring a rebate or discount, which can be increased if you agree to pay your bill by direct debit. However, be aware that if you pay on estimated bills, reduced usage during the summer can mean you end up in credit on your bill. You have the right to apply to the utility company in writing for a refund.

If you do pay by monthly direct debit, you'll generally find that the amount taken from your account is for both gas and electricity bills. But if you use other payment methods the bills will arrive separately.

If your rainwater doesn't run into a mains sewer, you might be entitled to a rebate on the sewerage part of your water bill, under a regulation that's been running since 2000. If you feel this applies to you, contact your water supplier directly.

You have the right to request a water meter, so your bill will reflect actual usage, rather than an estimate. Many have found a significant reduction in their bills with metering.

Unable To Pay

As utility bills continue to rise, people have to budget more to be able to afford them, and late or non-payment of utility bills has become a rising problem. If you have problems paying your utility bill, the first step is to contact your provider. You should be able to find contact details on the back of the bill.

The supplier will usually offer payment plans, but remember that your gas and electric can be disconnected for non-payment. However, water companies can't disconnect a domestic customer for water arrears; they'd have to take action in the county court for debt.

If you're having problems and are on income support or income-based Job Seekers Allowance, you can ask the Department for Work & Pensions to take weekly deductions from your benefit and pay it direct to the fuel company. This will cover the fuel that you currently use as well as a set amount towards the arrears.

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[Add a Comment]
Helen - Your Question:
I have been chasing Thames water since Christmas as my account is over £1100 in credit. asking for the money back and for my direct debit to be amended. they final agreed to give the money back but told me I needed to wait 10 working days for the money to clear in my account this was 20 working days ago. When I phoned and chased it up they said it was sent and that it will take another 3 working days. Once again this time has passed and no money. I have contacted my bank and they have told me that no attempt for money to be put in my account has been made. I have been chasing it but am left with the same response. oh I can assure you it has been sent over and will show in your account within the next 3 working days. Once again Nothing! What are my rights and how can I get this matter resolved as quickly as possible.

Our Response:
Send a letter with all the details if the money is not paid within 7 days you will be referring it to the Conusmer Council for Water or taking legal action.If it's not paid, you could then do just that. The CCW should be able to advise on what steps you can take.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 31-Mar-17 @ 10:02 AM
I have been chasing Thames water since Christmas as my account is over £1100 in credit. asking for the money back and for my direct debit to be amended. they final agreed to give the money back but told me i needed to wait 10 working days for the money to clear in my account this was 20 working days ago. When i phoned and chased it up they said it was sent and that it will take another 3 working days. Once again this time has passed and no money. I have contacted my bank and they have told me that no attempt for money to be put in my account has been made. i have been chasing it but am left with the same response... oh i can assure you it has been sent over and will show in your account within the next 3 working days. Once again Nothing! What are my rights and how can i get this matter resolved as quickly as possible.
Helen - 29-Mar-17 @ 9:54 PM
Emma- Your Question:
Hello, I wondered if you could give me some advice on what to do in regards to outstanding utility issue. I purchased a mill development back in 2006, the mill was converted in numerous flat at this time. When I came to registering my gas metre they said they couldn't find the right one which matched my flat as they weren't number correctly. So initially I gave them the office next door to my flats reading and the gas company came back and said it was incorrect. I contacted them numerous times but nothing happened. About 8 years ago I moved from the apartment and a family member moved in. I did a few years back get in touch with the gas company and sent them a picture of my metre but no one came back to me or helped. I just wondered what the best course of action will be and if I should expect a huge bill? I think with the fact I have tired to make contact that its down to them to chase me or sort? I have never received a bill from them or any other contact? Thank you Emma

Our Response:
Has your family member/the new resident been paying their gas bills appropriately?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 5-Jan-17 @ 11:41 AM
hello, I wondered if you could give me some advice on what to do in regards to outstanding utility issue.I purchased a mill development back in 2006, the mill was converted in numerous flat at this time. When I came to registering my gas metre they said they couldn't find the right one which matched my flat as they weren't number correctly.So initially I gave them the office next door to my flats reading and the gas company came back and said it was incorrect. I contacted them numerous times but nothing happened.About 8 years ago I moved from the apartment and a family member moved in. I did a few years back get in touch with the gas company and sent them a picture of my metre but no one came back to me or helped.I just wondered what the best course of action will be and if I should expect a huge bill?I think with the fact I have tired to make contact that its down to them to chase me or sort?I have never received a bill from them or any other contact? Thank you Emma
Emma - 4-Jan-17 @ 1:49 PM
@Toad. IF you've not been getting bills, then Ofgem says you cannot be 'back billed' for more than 12 months worth of supply. If you are simply in arrears, then it would probably be up to the courts to decide.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 15-Dec-14 @ 2:04 PM
Have far back can a utility company demand money from a domestic address?
Toad - 15-Dec-14 @ 10:24 AM
I signed up for EDF dual gas/electricity in March 2012 along with paperless billing. Over that period I have submitted meter readings for both gas and electricity. . I checked on line today having just submitted some fresh meter readings and tried to find out what the status account was. However, EDF have failed to bill me for the gas only billing me forelectricity despite being on the dual contract/[paperless on-line billing. In essence, I have not had a bill for the gas element since March 2012 due to their failings. Over the intervening period they have been raising my Direct Debits and immediately prior to me contacting them estimated I was £600 in credit. Having brought the lack of the gas element of the bill to their attention they now have calculated that I am %325 in debit and have adjusted by the DD to claw this back between now and June 14. How do I stand with this?
Chris - 29-Nov-13 @ 10:43 PM
South Bend Water Works in South Bend Indiana will turn off your water supply without notice and charge you fees to turn on as well as make you wait until the following business day to be reconnected.I would love to know where and how to fight this utility company.The incompetent management that was appointed by our previous Mayor needs to be ousted but she is protected by color.Our new mayor has been ostracised for demoting people of color in our town so she will be safe for some time to come, even though she does not follow anything except her rules.
David Schmokel - 21-Jun-12 @ 8:05 PM
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