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Utility Bill Debt Scotland

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What Is Utility Bills Debt? - Advice

Few things in life are more essential than your utilities and it’s not an overstatement to say that water, electricity and gas are three things few people can live without. Whether that’s for hydration and sanitation, heating or cooking, or even access to the internet and television, having any of these utilities taken away is unthinkable.


The three main utilities are:


  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Water

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will pay for your water bill separately, however if you live in Scotland, the cost of water is included in your Council Tax Bill.


As well as the three basic utilities, we could also add any TV subscriptions, internet and mobile phone accounts, since for many these have become our main method of accessing basic information and communicating with other people.


However, for many, paying for these water and energy bills can be a real struggle and it’s not difficult for some people to let these bills spiral out of control, creating a debt that can be really tough to shift.

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How Do People Get into Debt With Gas and Electric?

For many people each of the three main utilities usage is measured using meters either in or near to our home. However, we often don’t pay our bills based on exactly what we use, when we use it.


Many companies will charge for utilities based on an annual average. This allows consumers to pay a consistent amount throughout the year. Gas is a clear example of this, with heating bills being low during summer months and then skyrocketing during winter.


This system works well, most of the time, however if you begin consistently using more of any given utility throughout a year, then you can end up using more than you are paying for. Utility companies will sometimes take a while to register this, meaning that by the time they do, you have arrears on your account that they will want you to pay for.

Another reason for utility debt is companies upping their prices. If you are on a fixed income, whether that’s benefits or a pension or whether you simply don’t have much leeway in your finances, a price hike can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

How Can I Avoid Utility Bill Debt?

Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of different methods you can take to help yourself stay out of debt.


Benefits for Low Income Households


There are various schemes that are worth investigating if you are on a low income. You may be eligible for support if you are on either of the following:


  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance

Support can take different forms, but here are two examples:


Check  https://www.gov.uk/bills-benefits to find out more.


Payment Methods and Account Types


Setting up a monthly Direct Debit as opposed to paying manually on a quarterly basis can make the paying of your bills more routine and easier to manage. This helps you to avoid the dread of receiving a large bill every 3 months.


It is always worth investigating which energy supplier you are using and whether you are on the lowest rate possible. If you have been with the same supplier for a long time, then you may be surprised at how much you could save by switching. Use a price comparison site to find out more.


With the recent change in the energy bill price cap, accruing utility bill debt is becoming easier than ever! One step that can be taken to reduce your risk of building up troublesome debt, is to take more notice of your bills. In fact, you should start to keep a really close eye on them.


Begin to take a monthly reading of your meter to ensure that you avoid estimated bills as much as possible. This helps by ensuring that, if you are using more energy than you direct debt covers, you will notice it straight away rather than after it has built up into a high amount of money. You can also react to this, by being more conscious of your usage.


Of course, a simple way of saving money on utilities is to be more efficient and careful with your usage. Simple steps like ensuring light switches are off when a room is not in use or dealing with water leaks promptly can help to reduce bills as much as possible.

What Action Might a Utility Company Take If I’m In Debt?

If you begin to find things difficult then taking early action can really help. In the first instance, speaking to your utility company can open up options for you. If you have arrears on your account, then the company should offer you a payment plan to help clear the debt in a timely, but affordable manner. They should also check the rate you are on and offer you a better deal, if one is available.


If you agree a payment plan with your supplier, but continue to miss payments, then your utility company will take action against you. These could take the form of debt collectors visiting your home or court action.

Who Can Help Me with My Utility Bills Debt?

If you are having trouble paying your utility bills or if you have other unsecured debts that are beginning to get out of control, then the following solutions may be right for you:

Contact TrustDeed4Me for help. We can help you begin to get your life back on track.


Trust Deeds are solely available to residents of Scotland. If you are a resident of England, Wales or Northern Ireland, then visit our sister site IVA4Me.co.uk to find out about Utility Bill Debt Help.

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