Can I get a break from household bills if I'm struggling to pay? An expert answers

June 27, 2022

Gas, electricity and, to a lesser degree, water, are among the biggest regular expenditures for households throughout the UK.

And for the many people who have been left struggling to make ends meet amid the worsening cost of living crisis and soaring outgoings across the board, recent months have involved an ongoing effort to find strategies for managing finances more carefully.

Given the significant chunk of our outgoings that utility bills account for, large numbers of households have been looking into whether there is any way to delay these payments - like with mortgage payments during the pandemic.

Sky News asked personal finance expert Gemma Godfrey the question: Can you get a holiday on your utility bills?

Here's her answer in full:

Soaring energy bills are putting millions of people across the UK under huge financial pressure and it's not in the best interests of consumers or suppliers to run up large overdue bills.

The most important thing for anyone who thinks they are going to struggle to pay a bill is to get in touch with their supplier - the earlier, the better.

The good news is that, according to the energy regulator Ofgem's website, their "rules mean suppliers must offer payment plans you can afford".

In addition to a break in payments (the payment holiday you're hoping for), you can ask for a review of your payments, payment reductions, more time to pay, access to hardship funds, advice on how to use less energy and a free support service if you are in a vulnerable situation (called a Priority Service Registration).

It also might be worth enquiring about any schemes or grants your energy company might offer.

Citizens Advice lists some of the grants on offer on their website.

Gemma is a business advisor, finance expert and TV host, an ambassador for the charity Surviving Economic Abuse, and a former boardroom adviser to Arnold Schwarzenegger on The Apprentice.

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