My mother has Energy debt of £3542.26 is there any help — Scope | Disability forum
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My mother has Energy debt of £3542.26 is there any help

Davidhill
Davidhill Community member Posts: 6 Listener
edited January 2023 in Cost of living
Hi Guys
My mother is a pensioner and lives on her own, she has 3 carers a day and she has many illnesses from Dementia to breast cancer, loss of one eyesight and so on.

she gets Pension credit, Pension Guarantee credit and attendance allowance, which we used this on the carers contribution.

however i had to get private carers in and this is where the arrears happened and fell behind on the Energy bill.

Now they are sending the FINAL NOITCE, DEBT AND BAILIFF.

I have contacted Step change and British Energy grant to see how can they help with the outstanding payment.

I don't have much fund left , as my pension money goes in caring and laundry due to incontinent issues.

Please advice.
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Comments

  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    I think Stepchange and British Gas Energy Trust (I assume this is who you are referring to) are better able to advise than we are.

    See also
    https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/energy-bills-help/
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • rebel11
    rebel11 Community member Posts: 1,636 Pioneering
    edited December 2022
    Who is the Energy company?

    Contact Citizen Advice, they will 100% be able to Help, they have a Extra Help Unit for 'vulnerable' customers (who are on benefits) of Energy Companies. 

    You'll need to call CAB England https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/,

    but the EHU in Scotland communicate with energy companies on your behalf. 

    https://ehu.org.uk/

    Also if you get any nonsense from the energy company, contact your local MP and 'shout loudly'. 
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 7,562 Scope online community team
    edited December 2022
    Hello @Davidhill and thanks for reaching out, I'm sorry to hear what's been happening.

    It's positive to hear that you're in touch with Step Change and British Gas about the debt, and I can see our members have already shared some helpful organisations for support. 

    It's definitely worth contacting Scope's own Disability Energy Support Service if you haven't already, and hopefully the team will help with your next steps, and with managing bills now and in the future.

    Can I ask, is your mother on the Priority Services Register with the energy company you use? It's free to sign up, and is a good way of getting help when you need it. 

    Do you have loved ones you can go to for emotional support during this time? It's important to look after our wellbeing, so if you're worried about stress, you can always speak to your GP.

    Let us know how things go, and if we can help with anything else in the meantime.

    Alex
    Online Community Coordinator
    Scope

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  • Davidhill
    Davidhill Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi Guys
    My mother was with SSE and now taken over by OVO. I think she is on Priority, but i will check on this.

    I will contact Disability Energy Support Service .

    I have been in touch with Stepchange and they given me advice by making monthly payment .


    Our recommended option for you: Monthly payment arrangement Your budget shows you're unable to repay your missed priority payments in a reasonable period of time. But you need to make arrangements with your priority creditors. You’ll need to contact the creditors you're in arrears with and make the arrangements we've suggested with them

    This is the below standard letter give to me to send to ovo by Stepchnage

    Creditor name and address My name and address My account/agreement No:

    To whom it may concern

    My payments to you I've recently received advice from StepChange Debt Charity to help me improve my circumstances, and find a more permanent solution to repay my debt. I'm currently experiencing financial difficulties, and have no available money to pay towards my arrears. However, I'll make a token payment of £1.00 per month. In the meantime, please consider refraining from any action to collect the money I owe. I’ve enclosed the budget I completed with StepChange, which shows my monthly finances and confirms that I can't afford to pay more than the token payment offered.

    Yours faithfully, ________________________________ Your name 
  • rebel11
    rebel11 Community member Posts: 1,636 Pioneering
    You clearly need 'urgent' action on the matter,

    Email it to:

    Stephen Fitzpatrick
    Group CEO
    OVO Energy Ltd
    [email protected]
     
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Campaigns Posts: 12,488 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm really glad to hear you've been able to get some advice from StepChange @davidhill!
    National Campaigns Officer, she/her

    Join our call for an equal future.
  • caretaker
    caretaker Community member Posts: 13 Listener
    Hi Guys 
    I just had a call in the morning by British Gas Energy trust and they can not help me with this debt and told me go back to Ovo who will help me with the debt, as they are helping their customers who are in debt or difficulty in paying the bills.

    i will now get in touch with Ovo Group CEO, will keep you updated.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,979 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for keeping us updated @caretaker. I am sure your experience will be invaluable to anyone experiencing anything similar. 

    Good luck with getting in touch with Ovo Group CEO. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you need any further support in the meantime.

    We are all here for you and listening to you. You don't have to face this, or anything else, alone if you don't want to.

    Take care for now and we will look forward to, hopefully, hearing from you again soon  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Campaigns Posts: 12,488 Disability Gamechanger
    How are you getting on @Davidhill @caretaker? Do you have any updates? 

    If you'd like to help us with our campaigning work in this area, you might be interested in this opportunity:
    Hi there!

    My name is Sophie and I work in the Scope Stories team. We are currently working on a campaign about the cost of living for disabled people. If you have disability-related costs that are higher than average, such as energy bills over £208 per month, we would be keen to hear from you.

    If you're interested in participating, you can fill in this form, or email us at [email protected] with any questions or for more information.

    Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!

    Sophie
    National Campaigns Officer, she/her

    Join our call for an equal future.
  • Davidhill
    Davidhill Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    edited January 2023

    Good-afternoon,

    Thank you for your reply.

    In terms of further financial aid, you are going to have to report back to our collections team. They are our financial advice department, and there is only so much I can do from my end. I would've been more than happy to discuss on behalf of you and your mother, however they would need your confirmation to set up any payment planning etc.

    I appreciate your experience with the collections team has not been the best, which has been raised internally to ensure the staff are providing all the correct support to our members. This has been noted via your particular experience.

    From my end, there is nothing further I can offer and would like to look at closing the complaint.

    However, by all means please keep me updated with the discussion you have with the collections team following our communication.

    Kindest Regards,

    Brooke 

    Executive Complaint Specialist



    Dear Brooke,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I applied for an Energy grant with British Gas Energy trust to apply for the Grant , to reduce the Energy debt and told me Ovo has their own Energy Grant so speak to them and they emailed your team regarding this a few weeks ago. I spoke to a lady over the phone around November 2022, as I applied back in August 2022.

    This will really help me , as I was told by Stepchnage and Turn2us there is Energy Grant available and OVO should help with this, but your team based in South Africa keeps talking about a warm house discount, but I said I need help with the Energy Grant.

    Please can you look into this.

    Kind Regards

  • Davidhill
    Davidhill Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    edited January 2023


    This was the first response.

    Good-afternoon 

    Thank you for contacting our Executive Office at OVO Energy, I am Brooke Atkinson, one of the Executive Complaint Specialists, I will be your point of contact for our case.

    I understand you contacted OVO Energy about your mother's account and how financially there are struggles to cover her current debit.

    I have attached all financial aid we can offer to you in the hope this is helpful in supporting yourselves:

    https://www.ovoenergy.com/help/debt-and-energy-assistance

    https://charisgrants.com/partners/ovo-energy/

      

    Step Change

    Step Change is a debt management charity that provides free advice on problem debt based on what's best for you. From repayment plans to advice on budgeting, Step Change can offer free and impartial advice.

    You can reach them on 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org for more information

    Priority Services Register

    If you’re an OVO Energy customer, and you need extra help managing your energy account – help with reading your meter, for example – or would be in serious difficulty if you lost your energy supply. You can register here.

    Warm Home Discount (WHD)

    The Warm Home Discount is a one-off payment of £140 (including VAT) off electricity bills to help customers who are struggling to pay.

    You can find out more/register by clicking here.

     The OVO Fund

    The OVO Energy Fund is a fund to help people who’ve fallen behind with their energy payments and built up debt, but who want to become more financially stable in the future.

    If you’re eligible, we may be able to help you get your balance back on track. Click here for more info.

     Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)  

    The Centre for Sustainable Energy is an independent national charity that shares knowledge and experience to help people change the way they think and act on energy. They’re experts on energy efficiency, they can help with everything from reducing your usage to how your boiler works. You can reach them on 0800 038 5688 or visit www.cse.org.uk/advice for more information and energy saving tips. 

     Turn2us – Benefits Calculator and Grants Search Tool

    Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. You can visit www.turn2us.org.uk/ and try their benefits calculator or grants search.  

     Fuel Direct

    Did you know that you can pay directly for your energy from your benefits? To find out more and see if you're eligible, visit the Government website, www.gov.uk/bills-benefits.

     You might also be interested in some topics covered in our online help centre: 

     What do I do if I can’t pay my bill?

    I want to know how to save money on energy, how can OVO help me?

    I was going to give you a call this afternoon, however I appreciate you need immediate action and I wanted to ensure all the information I could provide is forwarded straight to yourselves. Please use all the links for further advice.

    I will check back in 5 working days to gain an understanding of how you are getting on with the useful links.

    If you are happy with this response, and do not feel any further assistance is needed, let me know.

    Kindest Regards,

    Brooke 

    Executive Complaint Specialist

  • Davidhill
    Davidhill Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    I applied for British GAS Energy Grant and no luck, as they told me to apply with Ovo said there is no fund Available.
    At the Moment i have Energy DEBT of £3543.00 and i was desperate looking for Energy grant and trying help my mum out by paying the Balance, as the the British GAS Energy Grant would of paid £1500.00.

    when i ring Ovo some customer services says you can get help with Energy grant Fund and when chatting on WhatsApp saying there is no fund and it is frustrating getting different information.
  • Wilshyboy
    Wilshyboy Community member Posts: 248 Pioneering
    Have you tried emailing your local MP, if you explain your mothers circumstances, as quite often a letter from them will often get you a swifter resolution from the energy company. You can find their email on Parliament website https://www.parliament.uk, this maybe of some use to you, please let me know whatever you decide.
  • 2oldcodgers
    2oldcodgers Posts: 743 Connected
    Surely the answer in part is to get a prepayment meter fitted. Doing that the debt will be collected  via the regular payments you make.

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