The cost of energy and food is so high now. I’m worried about how I’ll put food on the table. I’m on a
prepayment meter and I’m really scared we’re going to be left without any gas or electric if I can’t
top up. What can I do?
First of all, I’m really sorry to hear how tough things have been for you. You’re doing the right thing in reaching out for support and there are things you can get help with. As a prepayment meter customer, your energy supplier will be able to give you temporary credit if you can’t afford to top up your meter. They might add this to your meter automatically, but if they don’t, you can call them and ask them to do this.
If you run out of temporary credit, speak to your supplier to explain your situation. They may give you extra temporary credit if you’re struggling with living costs. There are other reasons why they might give you extra credit too, including if you’re disabled, have a long-term health condition, or you have children under the age of 5. You’ll have to pay back anything extra you get, but you can agree how to do this in a way you can afford with your supplier.
As you say, the cost of living is really high but there is help available. If you pay council tax and you’re in bands A-D, you should get a payment of £150 automatically. It could take until the end of September, but if you’ve not had it already you might need to make a claim.
You might also be able to get help from the Household Support Fund, which helps those experiencing financial hardship. They can offer support with energy bills, with food or other essentials.
For more information on the £150 payment or the Household Support Fund, email Babergh & Mid Suffolk
District Council on or call 0300 123 4000.
There’s more government support coming from October in the form of a £400 payment to help you with your energy bills. If you have a prepayment meter, you’ll be given vouchers in the first week of each month from October, via text, email or post. Make sure your energy company has your up-to-date details. To help manage other costs, it’s also worth checking you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to. There are benefits calculators you can use online or Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk can complete a benefit check for you. If you can’t afford to buy food, Citizens Advice also can help you get a referral for a food bank.
We know this is an extremely worrying time and everyone’s situation is different. Don’t struggle alone.
Citizens Advice Mid Suffolk can provide advice on this or any other issue, including debt, employment, benefits and family law. You can contact them on 01449 676060 or use the contact form at midsuffolkcab.org.uk/contact-us. For more information and our opening hours go to midsuffolkcab.org.uk.