Help Centre

What happens if I don’t pay my energy bills?

If you stop paying your energy bills and do not engage with your supplier in any way (including through Ophelos) it is likely they will take action against you.

The action they take will vary depending on the company. Generally, they will contact you after you miss a payment to ask you to pay or check if something is wrong.

Any subsequent action is likely to increase in severity the longer time goes on. This could eventually result in any of the following outcomes:

  • You are contacted by a debt collection agency, such as Ophelos
  • Your credit file will be affected
  • Your supplier could have a prepayment meter fitted in your home, or in extreme cases, cut off your supply
  • Your energy supplier could take you to court

Stepchange have a page explaining the various steps of the debt collection process here.

If you can afford your energy bills but it will cause you to struggle

Not paying your bills can cause problems for you in the future. It is highly recommended to keep paying your bills if you can.

There is help available if you are concerned about staying on top of things. You can find more information on what to do if you’re struggling with your energy bills here. The page covers:

  • Different ways to pay for your energy which may make things easier for you
  • Links to grants and schemes to help you pay for your energy bills
  • Further support if you are struggling with living costs

You can also refer to our cost of living toolkit for more resources.

If you are in debt with your supplier and are struggling to make repayments

You should try to keep on top of your monthly usage to stop the debt increasing, even if you can’t afford to make payments towards the debt.

You should also contact your supplier as soon as you can to let them know you are finding it difficult to make repayments. It is important to let them know if you are worried so they are aware of your situation, and can recommend how to manage going forward.

If you can’t afford your energy bills at all

It is important to get in touch with your supplier (or Ophelos) as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay. You should also get in touch if you have decided to seek further help. This is so they are aware of your situation and will know why you haven’t paid or been able to engage.

When you get in touch, your supplier may do the following:

  • Discuss your circumstances in more detail and suggest a solution to suit you
  • Give you some space to allow you to explore your options
  • Refer you to organisations who can offer you help
  • Place a hold on any debt collection activity to give you time to find support

Your supplier should also deal with someone who is working on your behalf if you would find it difficult to contact them yourself. They will need your explicit permission in order to do so.

You can find more resources to help you if you can’t afford your energy bills here.

🤔 Not sure where to start?

If you think you need help and aren’t sure how to move forward you could follow our suggested next steps below to help you make a start.

1️⃣ Get in touch with us if you feel you need help

It’s really important to let us know if you’re struggling and feel you need more support. Please email us at, or respond to any messages we’ve sent you, and tell us you need help.

We will never put pressure on you to agree to payments you can’t afford, we simply want to be aware of your situation so we can assist you.

If you talk to us we can:

  • Suggest resources that may help you
  • Discuss your options to find something to suit you
  • Give you some space if you need time to look into the support available
  • Keep your lender or supplier up to date so you don’t have to (please note we can only contact companies who have passed your account to us)

2️⃣ Consider whether you could manage making payments in the meantime

If you can afford it, keeping on top of payments may help prevent problems in the future, particularly for your energy bills. If you feel able to make manageable payments for the time being you can set something up through your Ophelos account or talk to our team.

If you don’t think you can manage to pay anything right now please let us know. There is help available, and if you are struggling our team will give you space to look into support.

3️⃣ Take some time to think about what you should deal with first

There is a lot of information out there and it may be difficult to know where to start.

Here are some tools which may help you think things through:

  • Work out which bills to prioritise
  • Work out which debts to deal with first
  • Find welfare, benefits, and grants that are relevant to your situation
  • Check what benefits you could be entitled to

Your first step could simply be deciding to talk to someone for more advice. You can find a local adviser for benefits, housing, jobs, and legal issues here. You can find a list of free debt advice organisations here.

4️⃣ Don’t forget to reach back out

While we are managing your account it is important to keep us up to date. If we give you some space we’ll always let you know how long the hold will last. This is so you’re aware when you need to get back in touch to let us know how you have got on.

When you update us we’ll be able to clarify next steps for you.

This could involve:

  • Revisiting your options
  • Giving you more space
  • Suggesting further resources to look into
  • Letting you know what to expect with regard to your account

Related questions:

Related blog posts:

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What happens if I don’t pay my energy bill?
Learn about the consequences of ignoring your bills and where you can find help.

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