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Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire tells you what to do if your energy supplier goes bust

My energy supplier is going bust. I’m worried about how I’m going to cope during the cold, winter months. I’m considering switching my supplier. Is there anything I need to know before going ahead?

A. You’ll still have gas and electricity if your energy supplier goes out of business. Ofgem, the gas and electricity regulator will switch you to a new supplier. It is important that you don’t switch tariff or supplier until your account is moved to the new supplier. You might find it harder to get any money you’re owed if you switch before this happens.

If your account is in credit your money is protected, unless you’re a small business customer. Your new supplier will tell you how you’ll be paid back. If you have an online account, it’s a good idea to log into it, check your balance and download any bills.

Citizens Advice logo (51042317)
Citizens Advice logo (51042317)

Before your new supplier contacts you, you should:

  • take meter readings - it’s useful to take a photo of your meter readings too
  • keep any old bills you have - these can help prove your payment history, credit balance or debt
  • make a note of your account balance - you’ll find this on your most recent statement

If you pay by direct debit, don’t cancel it straight away. Wait until your new account is set up before you cancel it. Your new supplier will write to tell you when your new account has been set up. This should happen within a few weeks.

Your new tariff might be more expensive than the old one. You should contact your new supplier to make sure you’re on the best tariff for you. You can switch if you’re not happy with your new supplier or tariff. You can do this without paying an exit fee.

If you made a complaint to your old supplier that hasn’t been resolved, you should raise it again with your new supplier.

If you were paying a debt to your old supplier you’ll still have to pay this back.

Wait for your new supplier to contact you. If they’re taking on your debt, they’ll let you know.

If the new supplier isn’t taking on your debt, you’ll have to pay an administrator instead.

If your new supplier takes on your debt, they will usually contact you to arrange a payment plan. If you’re struggling to pay, they have to help you find a way to pay. You should try to negotiate a deal that works for both of you.

If you have to pay an administrator, they will collect debts for your old supplier. You might get a bill from the administrator instead of your old supplier. If you were using a prepayment meter to pay off your debt, you might not be able to use the meter to pay the administrator. They’ll tell you how to pay.

You might be asked to pay all of your debt back at once. This is because administrators don’t have to follow the same payment rules as energy companies.

You should still try to negotiate a payment plan with the administrator. They should consider this even if they do not agree to it. Speak to your new supplier if your debt means you’re struggling to pay your energy bills. If you get a large bill you didn’t expect, you should check it against your old bills and statements. If you’re not able to pay, contact the administrator that sent you the bill to discuss your options.

For more details or advice, ring Adviceline on 0808 278 7996 to speak to a trained adviser.

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