Every year the Extra Help Unit helps thousands of people at risk of having their gas or electricity supplies disconnected or who have complex energy or postal complaints. Here are just some of them:
Complex billing problem
The mother of a 1 year old child was referred to the Extra Help Unit as she was experiencing complex billing issues with her gas and electricity supplier.
A direct debit had been set up however, after 3 months the supplier failed to collect payments due to a technical issue. It was found the tariff had also defaulted onto the Standard Tariff at this time which was more expensive. A meter reader had not attended for some time and a catch up bill was then received.
A caseworker from the Extra Help Unit raised a complaint with the supplier. The account was rebilled on the consumer’s preferred tariff using accurate readings and a reduction of 60% was applied due to the technical problems on the account.
A total reduction of £1234 was applied to the balance, leaving £516 outstanding. An extended payment plan over 3 years was also negotiated for the consumer.
Threat of warrant action
A 76 year old woman was referred to the Extra Help Unit for help regarding an electricity debt after threats of warrant action were received from her electricity supplier. Her husband had dementia and she herself was in poor health.
Their son had been paying for the electricity costs however, they had struggled to pay after he moved out A balance had accrued of more than £1000 and there were questions regarding the accuracy of the balance. The consumer was distraught as it was likely a prepayment meter would be installed under warrant which would not be manageable due to their circumstances.
A caseworker from the Extra Help Unit negotiated for a hold to be placed on the pending warrant action. Meter readings were arranged and the correct balance confirmed. It was also agreed that the supplier keep a hold on the account and accept payments for the monthly usage cost only, whilst the consumer submitted an application to the suppliers’ Trust Fund.
Self disconnection from pre-payment meter
A mother with 4 young children was referred to the Extra Help Unit as she could not afford to top up her prepayment meters. Her welfare benefits had been stopped temporarily due to a change in circumstances and she had no money for basic living costs. One of her children was registered disabled.
A caseworker from the Extra Help Unit contacted her energy supplier and negotiated prepayment credit of £30 for electricity and £20 for gas. It was agreed the supplier recoup these at a manageable weekly rate once her benefits were reinstated.
The caseworker also arranged for her to be placed on the suppliers’ Priority Services Register and to be considered for the Warm Home Discount scheme.