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How’s the energy sector supporting its customers?

Energy is essential for self-isolating or working from home. Our guest from Energy UK discusses what the energy industry is doing to support its customers.

This is a guest post by Abbie Sampson of Energy UK. All views expressed are her own, and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

As providers of an essential service, the energy industry has a responsibility to deliver a reliable service and support customers.

This responsibility continues at all times, and is even more important now, when many consumers are self-isolating or working from home, and when more people than usual may find themselves in financial difficulty. 

Get all the latest news and advice from the Which? coronavirus hub

We’re working hard to ensure people keep a reliable energy supply, so you may see energy workers out on the street. Please do not worry about this or challenge them; they’re allowed to be there by the government as they’re classed as key workers delivering an essential service.

They will be following the highest levels of hygiene and safety to protect customers and staff.

Energy UK has also launched its own information hub, where we’ll be sharing our latest news and information.

Supporting our customers

f you’re worried about your energy bill or have a question about your gas or electricity supply, do contact your supplier. Please be aware that suppliers’ phone lines could be busy with longer than usual waiting times due to the current situation. 

You may find an answer to your question more quickly by looking at their website first or emailing or using an app if your supplier has one, or using webchat if you are able to.

On a prepayment meter? You should get in touch with your supplier if you’re self-isolating and unable to top up.

Support is in place to ensure customers stay connected – this could include having a discretionary fund added to your meter, asking someone to top up your card for you or being sent a pre-loaded top up card. If you have a smart prepayment meter, remember you can top up remotely.

Working from home? You may be using more energy. Energy efficiency measures could help you reduce your bill.

For example, you could save on your energy bill by only boiling the amount of water you need each time you put the kettle on or by fitting energy efficient light bulbs and turning off lights if you aren’t using them. For more energy efficiency tips go to our website.

Staying safe

Make sure you stay safe from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if you’re spending long periods at home. Make sure you have an audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted and make sure you regularly test it and know it is working.

You can watch our new animation on how to stay safe here, and we’ve put together guidance on carbon monoxide poisoning.

Due to have a home visit or installation take place? Currently, all energy suppliers are following government, NHS and Public Health England guidelines in relation to all home visits and generally only essential and emergency home visits are taking place.

Due to the fast-moving nature of the situation, energy suppliers will continue to monitor and review their procedures.  

While carrying out home visits and going about their essential work, be assured that energy companies are adopting the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness to keep both the public and their staff safe.

This was a guest post by Abbie Sampson of Energy UK. All views expressed were her own, and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Do you find your energy bills are higher now that you’re at home? Perhaps you’re using the time to figure out ways to make your home more efficient? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


The price of oil has dropped dramatically in recent times but this has not been reflected in the cost of heating oil.

Paul says:
9 April 2020

try boiler juice i saved over £45 since on 500 litres i last ordered just two months ago !

Stephanie Trotter, OBE says:
9 April 2020

Telling people to get a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is a good idea. However the CO alarm should be to EN 50291 bought direct from a reputable supplier. To be effective, the alarm must also be taken out of the box and activated. Also we hope people would avoid being poisoned by carbon monoxide in the first place by ensuring they visit http://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/prevention/ It is also worth noting that carbon monoxide alarms to EN 50291 sound when 30 parts per million of carbon monoxide (CO) is in the atmosphere and has been there for over two hours. Therefore, although CO alarms to EN 50291 save lives they do not avoid exposure to low levels of CO which can cause health problems.

British Gas prepayment meters. What is British Gas up to?

We have a friend who has less than the minimum wage and relies on her BG prepayment card to heat her home.
She has found that her card does not work and she needs a new one but, cannot find a replacement anywhere. On her behalf we have visited or contacted more than 10 local Payzone or other outlets which BG claims have replacement cards. However, all say that they have run out and are awaiting new stock but have no idea if or when they might obtain more. Other suppliers cards are readily available.
The BG website is obtuse, it invariably defaults to Smart Meter guidance for new cards. Smart meter cards do not work in ordinary prepayment meters.
Online BG says that issuing a replacement card can take 15days! However, first we need to contact a real person at BG. We failed after several attempts to get past the forest of irrelevant push button “links”.
We have here a vulnerable person deprived in the depths of Winter of her minimal gas heating and forced to rely on electricity which is at the very least 5 times more expensive than gas.
Is this a cynical ploy by BG to force Smart Meters onto all?