If you are struggling to pay for your energy, or you have energy debt that has become hard to manage, we may ask you to take a financial assessment. We’ll use the information from your assessment to come up with a payment that works for you.
The payment plan may include:
- reducing your monthly payments for 60 days so you have time to focus on getting debt advice
- breaking your payments into more manageable chunks
- switching to weekly or fortnightly payments
- installing a top up meter to repay debt in smaller instalments
If your account is in debt, we will not ask you to repay your debt all at once. Our aim is to help make your payments more manageable.
Your financial information is confidential and kept securely
The financial assessment will be with one of our partner organisations. They are independent and regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), so any data you share will be safe and secure.
Bulb will not see what you spend your money on, we will only see a summary of your assessment. We will use this to better understand what you can afford to pay for your energy.
You can take a financial assessment online, or over the phone.
Taking a financial assessment online
You may prefer to take your financial assessment online, because:
- you can do it at any time of day or night
- you don’t need to talk to anyone on the phone
- you can complete it in around 20 minutes
- you can save your progress as you go
- you will get an update the next working day
Online assessments are with IE Hub. You’ll need to fill in an online form that will ask for some information about you, including access to your online bank statements. This will help build an accurate picture of your income and outgoings.
If you don’t want to connect your online banking apps, that’s ok. You can complete an assessment manually, though this will take a bit longer.
Next, IE Hub will summarise your answers, including what you can afford to pay towards your energy. They’ll ask you to confirm they can share the summary with us. If you choose to share your summary, we’ll update you within 3 working days. If they recommend that we should lower your energy payments, we'll do this automatically.
Taking a financial assessment over the phone
You may prefer to take a financial assessment over the phone, because:
- you don’t need a computer or internet connection to take the assessment
- you may feel more comfortable talking to someone about your situation
We work with Citizens Advice and StepChange. 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 usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for them to tell us.
If you’d like to get started you can talk to:
- Citizens Advice by contacting your local branch (calls are charged at your normal rate)
- StepChange on 0800 138 1111 (calls are free)
Independent help and financial advice is available
It can feel overwhelming if you are struggling to pay your bills. The most important thing to remember is that support is available.
There are independent organisations that offer free, confidential advice. If you’re not sure where to start, StepChange is a charity that helps thousands of people overcome debt every week. Try their:
- 60-second debt test - answer a few simple questions to find out if you need debt advice, and what your next steps could be
- Debt Remedy tool - answer questions about your financial situation to understand what to do next, where to get further support and guidance and how to start to take control of your money
- Guide to the Breathing Space Scheme - this is a guide to the government scheme which could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt
For more information, see our list of trusted organisations and charities that offer free debt advice.