Fuel Poverty Action is a campaigning organisation. We’re sorry that we can’t provide one-to-one advice for the crisis so many of us are facing in paying for gas, electricity, or heat. We have information below on where you can get help, including urgent help if you’re in crisis and struggling to top-up your prepayment meters.
Please note that we can’t keep up with developments in an ever-changing situation, only try to refer you to organisations who can offer up-to-date and accurate advice.
One positive change last year was that suppliers had to stop imposing prepayment meters on people against their will. This is something we fought for for years and it was very welcome. However, unfortunately Ofgem has now removed these protections for householders who are under 75, or whose children are over two years of age. The new rules will come into effect on 8th November.
Please let us know if any supplier tries to force you into having a prepayment (pay as you go) meter, or if they change you to prepayment mode on a smart meter without your consent.
Other recent changes and current advice and resources have been very well summed up in this excellent update by the Big Issue – valid as of February 2023. As well as rights, they give some good pointers on where to turn for help.
The first port of call for energy advice for most people will be Citizens Advice.
For more detailed advice on all issues, see the CPAG Fuel Rights Handbook online.
A Mini-Guide To Your Rights
PLEASE NOTE This guide dates from 2018. The principles of how to defend your rights remain valid and more important than ever, but some details including eg benefit rates, and particular regulations have changed since then.
To download the FULL PDF click here.
The Mini-Guide: The Breakdown
Gas and electricity bills are too high, and if this leads to debt there are no ideal solutions. However, there are ways you can stop the companies making things worse than they are already. Above all, you want to avoid getting disconnected. If you are, it will cost more to get reconnected, and you’ll be in a worse position after that. Good advice is available from many sources to help you stand up for your rights.
- ‘Your energy supplier has to talk to you’ click here.
- ‘Prepayment Meters’ click here.
- ‘Avoiding unwanted prepayment meters‘. click here.
- ‘Paying less – emergency financial help‘ click here.
- ‘It should be your choice. No illegal break-ins!‘ click here.
- ‘Going to court‘ click here.
- ‘Benefits, grants and financial help with fuel bills’ click here.
- ‘Switching supplier‘ click here.
- ‘Landlords, fuel, repairs and improvements‘ click here.
- ‘District heating‘ click here.
- ‘For the long term‘ click here.
- ‘Getting help‘ click here.
We were inspired to write this guide to gas and electricity rights after a growing number of calls and emails from people struggling with fuel costs, fuel debt, damp homes, unwanted prepayment meters, and useless rip-off landlords.
More and more, people are refusing to accept unacceptable fuel costs. Many people are challenging the energy companies over the size of their bills, the pressure they are put under, or the settings on their prepayment meters. Often, in addition to the high prices they charge, the companies manipulate things to their own advantage, bend the law, or make mistakes in their own favour. They sometimes break into people’s homes. If we all stand up to them together, we will be stronger.
Make sure you share your experience through the Fuel Poverty Action website, and let others know what you’ve suffered, what you are doing about it – and whatever you manage to win! Remember — the hated Poll Tax was abolished in 1990, after thousands of people refused to pay unjust bills.
Our complete, free guide ‘In Trouble with Your Energy Company? A Mini-Guide to Your Rights’ (PDF) can be downloaded here.
Know Your Rights Cards
Read and share our Energy Know Your Rights cards which tell you five of the most important bits of information if you’re in debt or in trouble with your energy company. Get in contact with us if you’d like us to send you some of these to hand out in your community.
Child Poverty Action Group Handbook
Comprehensive and detailed advice on all things related to bills, meters, legal rights and available help is now free online.
CPAG’s Fuel Rights Handbook is now free to access online thanks to a partnership with The Indigo Trust, the handbook is regularly updated to ensure you have access to the latest advice rights and advice. Visit their website to view the book.
It is designed for advisers but can also be useful more widely. Thanks @CPAGUK!