Energy: what to do if you have difficulty paying your electricity or gas bill?

Energy: what to do if you have difficulty paying your electricity or gas bill?

Energy: what to do if you have difficulty paying your electricity or gas bill?

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Faced with soaring energy prices, more and more households are finding it difficult to pay their bills. What to do if you find yourself in this situation? The Midi Enter make the point.

If you are concerned about the inability to pay your gas or electricity bill following very significant price increases, there are solutions.

For individuals

Compare energy suppliers

First reflection: “If you are with a supplier who offers contracts with prices indexed to the markets, which have risen sharply in recent times, it is worth discussing to change the offer”, advises Caroline Keller, head of the information and communication service of the Ombudsman. national energy. A comparator has also been created on their website.

Contact your energy supplier

If you are having difficulty paying, contact your provider by post, email or via an online form. He will be able to identify possible solutions and possibly grant you a payment plan. It can also check if your contract is suitable.

Discover the aids

You can also contact the social services of your department or municipality (Municipal Center for Social Action). They will inform you about the various forms of help available and the conditions and measures to be taken to benefit from them.

  • A social worker can contact your provider’s community center to get a pay schedule.
  • Check your eligibility for energy control on the platform set up by the government. This aid is granted to all households whose reference tax income (RFR) per consumption unit is less than € 10,800. Note that the right people don’t have to do anything.
  • If you are having lasting difficulties, a social worker can help you file a case with the Housing solidarity fund (FSL), to pay part of your bill. That is to say that if you have filed a practice, your supply of electricity and / or natural gas is maintained until the FSL has issued its conclusions (within a maximum period of 2 months).
  • If you are a beneficiary of the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF), the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), a pension fund or a supplementary pension fund, apply for it. These funds develop social action measures in favor of their troubled beneficiaries.
  • Depending on your situation and their possibilities, charities such as Secours Catholique or the French Red Cross can help you financially and / or support you in your endeavors.
  • Also approach Budget Advice Points (PCBs). These reception facilities are intended to support anyone who encounters budgetary difficulties and needs support.

Pay attention to the fees

Some vendors may charge late payment fees. “They are not necessarily very high, but they can accentuate your financial problems. The minimum is € 7.50 for an individual,” says Caroline Keller. Charges will also be applied in the event of an interruption or reduction in the supply of energy. “In general, it takes € 55”.

For professionals

Businesses are less protected than individuals. First of all, the winter break does not exist. “The period between the delayed payment and the cut is not framed by a decree. In general, between the time the invoice must be paid and the time the supplier can cut, it is generally just over a month. It depends on the provisions of the contract “.

As with individuals, businesses can contact their supplier to try and get a pay schedule. “They can also see if a professional union can possibly help them.”

For companies that consume more energy, state aid has been put in place. “These are companies whose purchases of gas and electricity represented at least 3% of their turnover in 2021”.

Last element: the corporate ombudsman can intervene if payment difficulties follow a sharp rise in energy prices.

Read also:
Unpaid energy bills: how soon can the supplier make cuts?

What are the consequences of unpaid invoices?

During the winter break which applies from 1uh From November to March 31, even if the bills are not paid, electricity and gas are maintained. Your supplier can, however, reduce the power of your electricity meter, unless you benefit from energy control.

“In the event of a reduction in electrical power, people will have light, they will be able to use the refrigerator, recharge their mobile phones, but on the other hand they will no longer be able to heat up or run their kettle. It is a protection but it is not complete” , explains Caroline Keller.

Beyond this winter break, it is possible to remove electricity and gas. “However, some suppliers, especially EDF, have pledged not to cut off electricity to their customers throughout the year, but to limit energy.”

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