Debt is often described in negative terms. But borrowing money, or ‘taking on debt’, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Manageable debts, that you can comfortably pay back over an agreed period, are often necessary in order to take that next step in life.
It’s only when debt repayments become unmanageable or unaffordable that debt becomes a problem.
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Everyone has to find the money to pay for utilities such as gas, electricity and water. But it’s easier than you might think to accumulate debt from utility bills.
Common causes of utility bill debt:
- Direct Debits or standing orders based on inaccurate estimates
- Unexpected utility bill price rises
- Unexpectedly high usage, due to prolonged periods of cold weather
- Lost bills
- Moving house and forgetting to settle a final bill
- Unexpected expenses that mean you can’t afford to pay your utility bill on time
- Missed payments after switching supplier
Keeping on top of utility bills
Utilities companies often increase their prices at short notice and many still base your bill on an estimate, which isn’t always accurate. It’s also easy to overlook utility bills when planning your budget, especially if you pay them quarterly. Keep on top of things by setting aside enough money each month to cover all bills – and remember, your heating bills may be more expensive during or shortly after winter.
Set up a Direct Debit or standing order so you don’t forget to pay your bill. Utility companies often offer a discount for Direct Debit customers.
You should also double-check you’re on the cheapest tariff. Use one of the many online tools to check that you’re getting the best deal and if you find a cheaper deal, switch. Just make sure you pay all outstanding amounts to your old supplier.
If you’re already on the cheapest tariff, you may still be able to do more to keep on top of your bills. If yours are based on estimates, take regular meter readings and compare these to your bills to make sure you’re being charged the right amount.
What to do if you have utility bill debts
Get in touch with your utility company to discuss your situation. Be open and honest, explaining that you’re keen to pay off the debt. Ask if they can arrange a payment plan so you can bring your account into credit without stretching your budget.
All utility companies should be prepared to work with you to find a realistic way of clearing your debt with them.
If you are currently struggling to make payments to utility providers and building up debts, get in touch with Creditfix today. One of our advisors will be happy to run through your options with you.
Call us now for immediate and confidential free debt advice or fill in this short contact form. Our advice is free and impartial.
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