Your Gas and Electricity Bill

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1 Your Gas and Electricity Bill

2 Page 3 This charter sets out what you need to know about paying for your gas and electricity, and what to do if you re having difficulty paying a bill. Section Contents Page What You Can Expect From Us What You Can Do to Help Things You Need to Know About Paying for Your Energy What Happens If Your Account Is In Credit? 11 2 Ability to Pay: What You Can Expect From Us Steps You Can Take to Help Yourself Disconnection Safety Net for Vulnerable Customers Restoring a Disconnected Supply Additional Information What to Do if We Get It Wrong 18

3 Page 4 Page What You Can Expect From Us As your supplier, we try to provide: Regular meter readings. Accurate and timely bills, where meter readings have been taken by us or, provided promptly by you, when asked. A prompt response to your enquiries. Regular assessments of payment plan accounts we will adjust payments when necessary to help prevent debt building up. Assurance that we will treat in confidence any personal or financial details you give us. If you have difficulty in paying for your energy bill we may offer you: The option of paying for your energy through the Fuel Direct scheme, provided you receive a qualifying benefit, and are accepted for the scheme by the Department of Work and Pensions. Help to work out an acceptable payment plan by working with other agencies, such as National Debtline. The option to pay in regular cash instalments. We will calculate any repayments in line with what you can afford to pay. The use of a prepayment meter, where it is safe and practical for you to use one. We can set the meter to collect any money you owe in instalments you can manage, along with your on-going energy costs. Free information on how using energy more efficiently could help to reduce your energy bills. We will not: Disconnect your energy supply for non-payment of debt where we have not attempted to recover the debt through a prepayment meter, where it is safe and practical to do so. Knowingly disconnect your energy supply for non-payment of debt between October and March, if you are of pensionable age and; i. Live alone, or ii. Live with others, all of whom are of pensionable age, or under 18. If any member of your household is of pensionable age or is disabled or chronically sick we will take all reasonable steps to avoid disconnecting your energy supply for non-payment of debt between October and March. In practice, we will try to work with you to find the best solution for you, trying to avoid disconnection at any time of the year.

4 Page 6 Page What You Can Do to Help As a ScottishPower customer, you can help us to help you by: Paying your energy bill on time or topping up your prepayment meter on a regular basis to ensure that it remains in credit. Granting access to our meter readers and agents, when required. Supplying meter readings where none have been taken. Calling us straight away if you are having difficulty paying an energy bill. We could help you repay any money you owe through a suitable repayment plan or by installing a prepayment meter in your home. 1.3 Things You Need to Know About Paying for Your Energy How We Calculate Your Bill We calculate the amount you have to pay, based on the meter reading. This tells us how much gas or electricity you have used since the last time your meter was read. We then multiply the number of units of energy you have used by the relevant unit price to work out your energy costs. Calculating your gas bill involves converting therms into kilowatt hours. The method we use to do this is shown on the back of your bill. Finally, where applicable, we add our service charge (also known as a fixed or standing charge) and VAT at 8% to calculate the total amount you have to pay. To see the bill explained in more detail visit our website at Meter Readings It is very important that we have an accurate meter reading so that we can calculate how much you have to pay. For further information please see the section on meter reading in our Charter on Visiting Your Premises available on our website at

5 Page 8 Page 9 How You Can Pay We offer you a number of ways to pay for your electricity or gas. Direct Debit Spread your energy costs throughout the year. Prepayment Pay as you go with a prepayment meter. Quarterly Pay in full every three months when you receive a bill. Budget Card Spread your energy costs evenly throughout the year using a payment card. Fuel Direct Payment is taken via the DWP from your state benefits. Monthly Cash Regular monthly cash payments. On-line Log on to and follow the instructions. Direct Debit Many of our customers find direct debit an easy and convenient way to pay for their energy. As a Direct Debit customer you can spread your energy costs over the year, which could make it easier for you to budget. We look at your annual energy use and calculate an appropriate monthly amount for you to pay. The money is deducted automatically from your bank account. We carry out a Direct Debit check on your account every three months to help ensure that the amount you re paying closely matches the amount of energy you use. After this review we may need to change your monthly payment. This may be due to recent changes in your unit price or to changes in your energy consumption. This should ensure that you are paying the right amount to cover your ongoing energy costs. We will always tell you beforehand if we need to change your monthly payment. You can help to ensure the amount you pay matches the amount of gas and electricity you use, by providing us with regular meter readings. Prepayment Prepayment meters offer a convenient pay as you go way of managing your energy bills, which could help you to budget for your energy alongside other household bills. You will be given a personal key, or Smartcard, which you can charge with credit at the Post Office or a PayPoint retail outlet, then insert into the meter. Many customers find this an easy way to budget for gas and electricity. However, it does not qualify for the same discounts as some other payment methods, such as monthly Direct Debit, and may be a more expensive way to pay. A prepayment meter can be set to collect any money you owe us in instalments over a period of time. For further information please contact us free on (lines open Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm, Saturday 8.30am to 6pm).

6 Page 10 Page 11 Quarterly We send you a bill every three months, which you should pay straight away. Paying quarterly does not qualify for the discounts you would receive if you pay by monthly Direct Debit or sign up for the Online Energy Service and may be a more expensive way to pay. This can be paid: By telephone or internet banking, following the instructions given on the bill. By cash, cheque or bank giro transfer at a bank or Post Office. By post: send a cheque to the address shown on your bill. By debit card over the phone, or online at Home_Energy/Managing_Your_Account_Online By direct debit, provided you pre arrange this with us: the amount shown on your quarterly statement is deducted from your bank account. Budget Card With a budget card you can spread your energy costs over the year. We look at your annual energy use and set an appropriate weekly or fortnightly amount for you to pay. You can use your card at any local PayPoint outlet; for details of your nearest PayPoint outlet please visit You can help to ensure the amount you pay matches the amount of gas and electricity you use, by providing us with regular meter readings. Fuel Direct If you receive a state benefit like Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance, you can apply to join our Fuel Direct scheme. If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) accept you on to the scheme, they will deduct an agreed regular sum off your benefits to cover your energy costs and payments towards any balance that is outstanding on your account. Monthly Cash You will receive a payment request letter each month. The amount requested will be based on a proportion of the total energy you are likely to use throughout the year. The letter will detail the payment amount and the date that the payment is due. Quarterly statements are not posted but you will be able to view quarterly statements online which will show the payments you have made. 1.4 What Happens If Your Account Is In Credit? If your account is in credit Your account is in credit if the total of the payments you ve made is greater than the cost of the energy you ve used where an actual meter reading has been provided. If you pay by Direct Debit it s normal for your account to be in credit, especially during the summer months when people tend to use less energy. This aims to spread the cost for the colder winter months, when you usually use more energy. When can I have my credit balance refunded? If you pay by monthly instalment, we will assess your account at the annual review and (a) any credit that s the same or greater than one month s instalment will be automatically refunded or (b) any credit balance greater than 75 will be automatically refunded. If your available credit is less than this, it will be carried forward to the next payment year and used towards your monthly installments 1. If you want to request a refund outside of the annual review, please supply us with up to date meter reads, so that an accurate account balance can be calculated. Please note that this may mean a change to your monthly instalment amount. If you pay on receipt of a quarterly bill and your account is in credit by more than 5 at the time of bill issue, we will automatically refund any cleared credit balance 2. If you have closed your account, for example, if you have moved to another supplier or another home, then we will automatically issue a refund on credit balances over 5 on the final account balance once we ve received an actual meter reading, a forwarding address and any customer bill payments have cleared with the bank 2. If you pay by any other payment method and there is a credit on the account that you would like us to review, please contact us free on (Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm, Saturday 8.30am to 6pm 3 ). An annual statement will be sent to you each year. This includes information on the energy you ve used and payments that have been made or are still due for the previous 12 months.

7 Page 12 Page 13 Credit Balance v Instalments More than 1 month s direct debit instalment Less than 1 month s direct debit instalment Any Credit Balance Value Greater than 75 Action We ll automatically refund the credit amount to you after the annual review. For example if your monthly payment is 100 and your credit amount is 120, we will automatically refund 120 to you. We ll automatically refund the balance to you after the annual review. For example if your monthly payment is 200, and your credit balance is 150, we will automatically refund 150 to you. 2 Ability to Pay: 2.1 What You Can Expect From Us We know that for many different reasons customers sometimes have difficulty paying bills. If you are finding it hard to pay your electricity or gas bill, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can try to give you help and advice. Less than 1 month s direct debit instalment Less than 75 We won t automatically refund the credit but will use it towards your payments for the following year. We will be sympathetic if you are finding it difficult to pay your gas or electricity bill. We will provide help and guidance which could assist in preventing debt and disconnection if you ask us. We will try to offer you a way to repay your debt in manageable instalments through a payment plan, Fuel Direct or a prepayment meter. 1 Please note, if the credit is greater than 6 month s installments, or greater than 650, then the balance will be validated for accuracy before we subsequently refund it to you, if correct, which may delay the refund. Any applicable bonus under the Direct Debit Bonus Scheme will be applied to the credit balance prior to the refund being issued. 2 Please note, if the account balance is greater than 420, then the balance will be validated for accuracy before we subsequently refund it to you, if correct, which may delay the refund. If the credit balance is less than 5 on the final account please contact us free on (Monday to Friday 8am 10pm, Saturday 8.30am 6pm). 3 Please note that when requesting a refund, you will need to provide your current meter readings, and that your direct debit or other payments may need to be reassessed. Where appropriate, we will refund payments directly into your bank account (where we hold these details, as soon as reasonably practicable), but in some circumstances the refund may be issued within 14 working days by cheque. We want to ensure that the amount you pay will be enough to cover your on-going costs and any balance that is outstanding on your account. We will install a prepayment meter where it is safe and practical to do so. We will promote the efficient use of energy and offer free, impartial advice which could help you reduce your energy use.

8 Page 14 Page Steps You Can Take to Help Yourself Let us know as early as possible if you are having payment difficulties. Our staff will be understanding and do what they can to help if you are experiencing difficulty in paying your energy bill. If you can t pay the bill in full, making a part payment towards it will help to reduce the debt. Try to reduce your future energy bills by making your home more energy efficient. You can find some useful tips and sources of information on using energy efficiently on our website: If your outgoings are more than your income or if you would like more help with debt advice then just visit or call them on (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9.30am to 1pm) as they may be able to help you. They are part of the Money Advice Trust and offer a free and impartial service. Do not ignore the problem tackling it now could help to avoid debt building up. 2.3 Disconnection We will take all possible steps to avoid disconnecting your gas or electricity supply if you are experiencing payment difficulties. However, if you do not engage with us, we will have no option but to enforce, by law, our right to be paid for the energy we have provided you with, including: Enforced installation of a prepayment meter. Referral to a debt collection agency. Court action against you. Registering a default against you with a Credit Reference Agency. Disconnection. 2.4 Safety Net for Vulnerable Customers If you can t pay your bill, and you believe that there are any circumstances that we should take into consideration, it is important that you contact us to tell us. We may then be able to help you to manage your energy debt and running costs and protect you from disconnection. Tell Us If You Can t Pay If you can t pay your bill, it is important that you contact us to tell us. We may then be able to help you to manage your energy debt and running costs and protect you from disconnection. To try and stop your supply from being disconnected it is important that you contact us: To agree a payment plan. To arrange to join the Fuel Direct scheme, if you are eligible for this. If you are a tenant and your landlord should have paid the bill, but has not. To tell us if you are going to be away from home for more than a month. In this case we may agree to delay your bill until your return. To tell us that the account you ve been asked to pay is in someone else s name. If we tell you that we plan to disconnect your energy supply you can contact Social Services or the Department for Work and Pensions for help. We will always tell you if we decide to take legal action against you, or if we are making arrangements to cut off your energy supply. We will also let you know when we plan to carry out the disconnection to allow you to engage with us. You may be held liable for any charges associated with following up your debt, and if you refuse us access to your home, we may return with a warrant of entry from the court.

9 Page 16 Page 17 Handling Your Enquiry or Complaint 2.5 Restoring a Disconnected Supply 2.6 Additional Information What You Can Expect From Us We will make all reasonable endeavours to restore your electricity or gas supply by midnight on the next working day, if you: Pay the full amount you owe, including a fee for putting your supply back on and any security deposit that may be required. Agree to a suitable payment plan, or; Agree that we can fit a prepayment meter, if it is safe and practical for us to do so. We can set the meter to collect charges and any amount you owe. Please note: we may ask for a fee to restore your supply and, if you do not have (or do not agree to pay through) a prepayment meter or Fuel Direct, we may ask you for a security deposit. We will tell you about any charges before we reconnect you. If your supply remains cut off, we will try to contact you within two working days of the disconnection date by telephone, letter or personal visit to agree a repayment plan with you. If you are suffering from financial hardship, you may find our booklet Warmth Without The Worry useful. This is available on our website at Priority Services Register (Carefree Scheme) If you or anyone else in your home is aged 60 or over, or has a chronic illness or disability you may be eligible for registration on the Priority Services Register for customers with special needs, and our Carefree scheme. For example, we can set up a password scheme and see whether you qualify for a free gas safety check. For further information please see our Charter on Customers with Special Needs available on our website at Energy Efficiency Taking a few simple measures to reduce the amount of energy you use at home could reduce your bills. If you would like information on how to reduce the amount of gas and electricity you use, please contact our Energy Efficiency advice line free on (lines open Monday to Friday 8am to 4.45pm) or visit our website If we can t reach an agreement and you don t pay anything towards the amount you owe us, we will take other steps to recover the debt. This may include the use of reputable debt-recovery agents or court action. You may be held responsible for any costs we incur in doing this, including legal costs. Please note that we have a statutory power to refuse to restore a supply where there has been criminal damage, such as meter interference.

10 Page What to Do if We Get It Wrong We want to provide you with the best possible service at all times. However, if we have made a mistake, or you are unhappy with any aspect of our service, please tell us we will try to put things right. You can , telephone, or write to us. Phone: Minicom: Lines open Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm, Saturday 8.30am to 6pm. Write to us at: ScottishPower Customer Services, Cathcart Business Park, Spean Street, Glasgow, G44 4BE For further details on our complaints process, please see our Complaint Handling Procedure charter, available on our website at

11 If you would like more information about this charter contact our Customer Service team free on: We understand the importance of keeping your personal details safe. To find out more, visit ScottishPower Customer Services, Cathcart Business Park, Spean Street, Glasgow, G44 4BE SCP3738 JANUARY 2016

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