Utility Bills

Whether you live in a small flat or a big house, in a big city or a small village the one payment you cannot avoid is the amount that will go monthly to utilities. The utility bills include anything your household needs to function properly such as electricity, water supply, and gas. The bills might prove unbearable for you and your family and you might find your self in debt.

Why Utility debt is more common than you might think:

It is important to realize that payments for utilities are usually made separately then the City Council tax which you will already need to pay monthly. Especially if we take into consideration the rising prices of electricity and gas or the cold months of winter you might suddenly realize your bill is way higher than you can afford with your monthly income.

Another reason utility debt is common is that bills tend to get lost. Keeping track of all the monthly bills you have to pay is not always easy especially if you receive many of them. This might result in a delay in payment or the accumulation of the amount.

In some cases, the energy, gas and water supply companies do not measure monthly your consumption but will bill you approximately based on your past consumption. This can lead to you either paying more than you should each month or to pay less. In the second case, however, you need to be careful as the next bill might include the balance of the payments throughout the year.

There are many examples where the household consistently paid less but at the end of the year, the final bill was way too high to compensate for the annual consumption. In this case, you might find your self unable to pay for an enlarged bill.

Weather can have a big impact on the consumption of energy, heat, and water. During the cold winter months, you might pay more for gas and electricity but during summer you might pay more for water supply as well as electricity spent on air conditioning. Your bills are going to fluctuate accordingly.

Another reason for an unexpected amount to pay is if you have moved recently or changed from one provider to the other. Between switching you might find yourself paying twice for the same utility. Once for the old company and once for the new one.

Energy providing companies sometimes update their measuring systems and this can lead to you paying more. Human mistakes are also possible in this case.

Finally, a personal or family situation can increase your monthly expenditure and leave you with less money available to pay all your bills.

How do you avoid utility debt:

As you can see it is easy to say that utility costs can be quite unpredictable, which makes the costs hard to budget. Whether it is because of the provider or because you missed a bill the costs tend to accumulate and can lead you in debt.

To avoid a situation like this make sure to have a small amount of money aside for typical fluctuations in the price of the bills. Always plan and make sure that you calculate a slightly higher amount for bills during the cold months of the year.

Above all make sure you do not lose any bills or forget to pay them – you can avoid this by setting up a direct debit account only for paying those bills. In some cases, you might even get a discount for doing so.

Sometimes paying less in utility bills means changing your providing company. You can compare the prices they offer or check for special packages that allow you to save. But do not forget to pay the final bill for your old supplier.

It is important to read the water, electricity and water meters and compare them consistently with your bills. This way you can notice if you are being charged more or less monthly and plan accordingly.

How to resolve utility debts if you have any

If you find that you are unable to afford your bills you can contact your suppliers and discuss the situation with them. You might even be able to renegotiate your contract. Most utility providers have a plan for reacting to such situations and you will find that this might help you solve your debt. The company might help you with special payment arrangements that will help you pay what you owe little by little.

You can call one of our advisors that will help you get free of your debts and provide you with counseling on how to solve any issues with your bills.

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Customers can get free debt advice from the Money Advice Service – an organisation set up by the Government to offer free and impartial advice to those in debt. For more information from the Money Advice Service visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. MAS is part of the Money & Pensions Service. We are not affiliated with MAS in any way.

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Become Debt Free specialise in providing and administering Individual Voluntary Arrangement (“IVA”) solutions to individuals based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We do not administer Debt Management Plans, Debt Relief Orders, or any other debt solutions.  We only provide advice after completing or receiving an initial fact find where the individual(s) concerned meets the criteria for an IVA, therefore, all advice is given in reasonable contemplation of an insolvency appointment.

* To qualify for debt write off in an IVA with us, you must have a minimum of £7,000 of qualifying unsecured debt owed to two or more creditors.  The amount of debt write off is based on your own personal circumstances – typically this could be up to 85% of what you owe; and this has been achieved by over 10% of our customers who have successfully completed their IVA’s in the last 12 months.  The amount of debt write off differs for each customer and is dependent upon their individual financial circumstances and subject to the approval of their creditors.

Andrew Bowers is authorised in the UK to act as Insolvency Practitioner by the Insolvency Practitioners Association.


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