The cost of energy and food is so high now. With the kids home from school for the
summer, I’m having to pay more for lunches and snacks. I’m worried about how I’ll
put food on the table. I’m on a prepayment meter and I’m really scared we’re going to
be left without any gas or electric if I can’t top up. What can I do?


First of all, I’m really sorry to hear how tough things have been for you. You’re doing the right
thing in reaching out for support and there are things you can get help with.
As a prepayment meter customer, your energy supplier will be able to give you temporary
credit if you can’t afford to top up your meter. They might add this to your meter
automatically, but if they don’t, you can call them and ask them to do this.


If you run out of temporary credit, speak to your supplier to explain your situation. They may
give you extra temporary credit if you’re struggling with living costs. There are other reasons
why they might give you extra credit too, including if you’re disabled, have a long-term health
condition, or you have children under the age of 5. You’ll have to pay back anything extra
you get, but you can agree how to do this in a way you can afford with your supplier.


As you say, the cost of living is really high but there is help available. If you pay council tax
and you’re in bands A-D, you should get a payment of £150 automatically. It could take until
the end of September, but if you’ve not had it already you might need to make a claim. You
can check how to do this on your council’s website.


You might also be able to get a fuel voucher, which you can use to add credit to your meter.
Contact your local council about this.


There’s more government support coming from October, including a £400 payment to help
you with your energy bills. If you have a prepayment meter, you’ll be given vouchers in the
first week of each month from October, via SMS text, email or post. Make sure your energy
company has your up-to-date details.


To help manage other costs, it’s also worth checking you’re getting all the benefits you’re
entitled to. There are benefits calculators you can use online. On the Citizens Advice
website, there’s advice on how to reduce living costs and information on other ways to
increase your income.


The school holidays can be a really tough time and we know the food shop isn’t stretching as
far. Contact your local council to find out what extra support you can get over the holidays. If
you can’t afford to buy food, your local Citizens Advice can help you get a referral for a food
bank.


We know this is an extremely worrying time and everyone’s situation is different. Don’t
struggle alone. If you need further support, contact your local Citizens Advice or call the
national advice line: 0800 144 8848

Please Note

Our Bolton office will be closed Monday – Wednesday for the foreseeable, we are still open on Thursdays and Fridays.

Should you require advice, you can reach our advice line service on 0808 278 7804.

Emergency contact details for local authorities in both Bury and Bolton are as follows:

Bolton – https://www.bolton.gov.uk/council/emergency-contacts

Bury – https://www.bury.gov.uk/emergencies/emergency-contact-numbers

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

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