Coronavirus and your bills
Help with your Council Tax
The government gave councils in England covid support funding for the 2021-2022 council tax year. Some councils used the fund to automatically reduce the 2021-2022 council tax bills for people who were already getting help from their Council Tax Reduction scheme (also called Council Tax Support).
If you are struggling to pay your council tax, contact your council to check that you are getting any discounts, reductions or exemptions that you are entitled to. Councils may also give further help if you are dealing with exceptional circumstances, for example, if you are in severe financial difficulty.
Help from your energy provider
Energy providers have agreed that the disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended. Also, if you are self-isolating and unable to top up your pre-payment meter, you can:
- nominate a third party for credit top ups;
- have a discretionary fund added to your credit; or
- have a pre-loaded top up card sent so that your supply is not interrupted.
If you are struggling to manage repayments to your energy provider, contact them to see what help they can provide. New guidance means that your debt repayments and bill payments could be reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary.
More information can be found on the Ofgem website.
Energy providers should not disconnect your gas or electric supply during the winter months (October-March) if you or someone in your property is vulnerable. Find out more in our Gas and electricity arrears fact sheet.
If you are a vulnerable person, you could ask your energy provider to place you on the Priority Services Register. The Priority Services Register can help to make sure that you receive all the appropriate support you need. You can find out who may be classed as vulnerable and what help is available by visiting Ofgem.
Help from your water company
Water companies had previously agreed to stop new court action and enforcement visits, these have now restarted. However, water companies should still try to help you if you are struggling to pay your water bill. Water UK have said that water companies should:
- provide a range of support to customers, this can include payment holidays and payment matching; and
- help customers pay their bills through Social Tariffs and other affordability schemes.
Each water company will have its own scheme, contact them directly to see what help can be provided.
Your water company cannot disconnect a domestic water supply. Our Water arrears fact sheet has more information on dealing with water arrears.
Help from your mobile or broadband provider
Most of the main broadband and mobile companies have introduced a range of measures to try and help. These include:
- allowing customers some time to get help, support and advice on how to manage their debts without the threat of enforcement action or disconnection during the same period;
- considering offering payment holidays or deferrals; freezing additional fees and charges where customers are experiencing problem debt, particularly while they are seeking debt help and advice; and
- agreeing a realistic and reasonable payment plan which is flexible and repayable over a period of time – this should be based on the customer’s ability to pay.
A full list of the help that should be provided can be found on the Ofcom website.
Help with your TV licence
TV Licensing have taken steps to help if you are struggling to pay your TV licence.
- If you are unable to keep up with payments, call them on 0300 555 0300 to see how they can help.
- TV licencing have temporarily stopped passing customers who have not kept up their payments to a debt collection agency.
- If you are in financial hardship and urgently need to stop your Direct Debit payments, call them on 0300 790 6068. If you are unable to get through, cancel the Direct Debit with your bank. You will need to make up any payments that you miss later on.
TV Licensing has fewer staff answering calls at the moment so it will more difficult to speak to someone. If you need to make a payment, there are other ways you can try and pay.