Getting help if you’re struggling with your energy payments

If you’re struggling with your energy payments, we’re here to help.

There’s separate advice for businesses.

There are different kinds of support available depending on whether you:

We also offer free services to members who need some support managing their energy account. For example, because you have a long-term health problem or have recently lost a job. Find out more about our support services.

If you’re struggling to afford your energy

You can find some tips for lowering your energy usage - and your bills - in our guide to saving energy at home.

If you’ve run out of credit on your top up (prepay) meter, and you’re struggling to pay for your energy, we may be able to offer you temporary credit, also called discretionary credit. You’ll pay back anything you borrow when you’re able to top up your meter again. If you need to talk to someone about getting temporary credit, get in touch.

If you don’t have a top up meter, and pay for your energy monthly, you might be able to lower your monthly payment amount in your Bulb account. Check your payment settings, where we’ll tell you the minimum amount you can set your payments to.

If the minimum amount is too high, we'd like you to do a financial assessment with one of our partner organisations, so we can look into finding a payment amount that you can afford.

You can choose between:

  • using Tully online - it takes around 20 minutes to complete their online financial assessment, and you’ll get an update the next working day
  • talking to one of our partner charities, Citizens Advice and StepChange - you'll chat with them on the phone for around 45 minutes, and they’ll send us a recommendation in 2 to 4 weeks

Working with Tully online

Tully is an independent organisation that helps people to manage their finances.

Through their online form, they’ll ask for some information about you to assess your finances, including access to your online bank statements. This will help you build an accurate picture of your income and outgoings. Filling in the form should only take around 20 minutes. And because it's available online you can complete it when it suits you.

Tully will work out an amount you can afford to pay towards your energy. And they will update you in one working day. They’ll also share the outcome with us.

You can get started with Tully right away.

If they recommend that we should lower your energy payments, we'll do this automatically. Later on, Tully will let us know once your financial situation improves, and we might increase your payments to keep your account healthy. We'll always give you 10 days' notice before we change your payment. And you can stop using Tully at any time.

You can find out more about how Bulb works with Tully.

Talk to one of our partner charities by phone

If you prefer, you can choose to talk to one of our partner charities about your financial situation on the phone.

They'll arrange a conversation with you, which should take around 45 minutes. They'll let us know if they think we should change your payments – it'll take 2 to 4 weeks for them to tell us.

You can talk to:

If you’ve built up energy debt

If you have debt on your Bulb account, and you get Universal Credit, you might be able to pay for your bills through Fuel Direct.

If you want to change how you pay for your energy

Most Bulb members pay for their energy in advance by monthly Direct Debit.

Some people find it easier to pay for their energy by topping up their meters. This means you pay for your gas or electricity as you use it. It can make it easier to budget, because you can see exactly how much you’re spending each day.

You can apply to get a top up meter installed at your home.

If you're not able to pay by Direct Debit or by topping up your meter, there are some other ways to pay for your energy:

If you want to pay when you get your monthly statement, which tells you the cost of the energy you’ve used, we might be able to arrange for you to pay by:

Monthly top up payments in your Bulb account

If you don’t have a regular payment method set up, you can top up your account every month with a credit or debit card.

Weekly or fortnightly payments

You can apply to make payments every week or every 2 weeks instead of paying monthly. Your statements will still be sent monthly.

Fuel Direct

If you’re having trouble paying for your energy, or if you have a debt with us, you might be able to apply for Fuel Direct. This is a government scheme that arranges for your energy bills to be paid directly out of benefit payments. You can find out more about Fuel Direct on the government’s website.

The benefits you can use to pay for your energy are:

  • Universal Credit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit

You can apply to pay by Fuel Direct. We’ll get in touch with you and ask you to provide us with your date of birth, National Insurance Number, and meter readings from within the last 4 weeks.

Pay with cash at the Post Office

You can pay with cash for the energy use shown on your monthly statement.

You’ll need to apply to make cash payments to Bulb first.

Then you’ll be able to pay at any branch that offers the MoneyGram service. They’ll ask you for identification, like a passport or UK driving license, and for Bulb’s bank account details.

Once you’ve paid for your energy, they’ll give you a reference to send to us.

Pay by cheque

Get in touch if you want to discuss paying by cheque for the energy use shown on your monthly statement.

To pay by cheque, you’ll need to make your cheque payable to Bulb Energy Limited, and write the following details on the back:

  • the email address we send your statements to
  • your Bulb account number or a statement number

You’ll post your cheque to:

Attn: Finance Department
155 Bishopsgate


Pay by bank transfer

Get in touch if you want to discuss paying by bank transfer for the energy use shown on your monthly statement.

A bank transfer, sometimes called a BACS payment, is a way of sending money automatically from your bank account to Bulb’s. The payments take 3 working days to clear.

To make a payment, you’ll need to use your bank’s online banking or phone service, and tell them how much you’d like to pay. Or you might find it easier to pay by topping up your Bulb account once a month, with a credit or debit card.

If your bank transfer doesn’t cover your energy usage, you’ll still have to pay for the energy you’ve used.

Pay by standing order

Get in touch if you want to discuss paying by standing order for the energy use shown on your monthly statement.

A standing order is a bit like a Direct Debit, where a monthly payment is transferred from your bank to Bulb’s. You can update a standing order at any time.

To set one up, we’ll agree to a fixed monthly payment amount based on your estimated usage. And you’ll tell your bank how much to pay and when to make the payment.

If your standing order does not cover your energy usage, you’ll still have to pay for the energy you’ve used.

If you want to apply for financial support

Warm Home Discount

We can offer £140 credit to eligible members who need financial support with their energy costs during winter. Find out more about the Warm Home Discount.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme

You can apply for financial support to make home improvements that will lower your energy costs. Find out more about the ECO scheme.

The Household Support Fund

You can apply for the new Household Support Fund. This is a small grant available to vulnerable households, to help pay for food, clothing and utilities. To apply, contact your local authority.

Tax relief if you work from home

If you have to work at home on a regular basis, (for example, because of coronavirus) you may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs. These costs include gas and electricity, metered water and phone bills. You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home. 

Other payments you may be eligible for 

During the colder months, there are two additional payments you may receive automatically if you are eligible. These are:

  • Winter Fuel Payments - if you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills.
  • Cold Weather Payments - if you're receiving certain benefits, you’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

If you want independent help and advice

There are several organisations and schemes that can help if you are having financial difficulties, such as:

  • StepChange, a charity that helps thousands of people overcome debt every week - you can call them for free on 0800 138 1111, or try their helpful Debt Remedy Tool or 60-Second Debt Test
  • National Debtline, an independent charity dedicated to providing free debt advice to millions across England and Wales - they offer free advice online or through their helpline on 0808 808 4000

Energy payments and your wellbeing

It’s been a difficult year, and your wellbeing is more important than your energy account.

If you’re going through personal difficulty, we recommend contacting someone you trust, or a professional such as a GP.

There are lots of services just a phone call away that can provide expert mental health support. For example:

  • Mind, who offer information and support if you're living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is
  • The Samaritans, who are available 24 hours a day if you need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling - call them free on 116 123, or text SHOUT to 85258
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