Professor Green partners with us to stop the silence around energy debt
4th May 2022
The rising cost of living means more people are experiencing financial difficulty for the first time.
New research from YouGov shows that four in ten households will struggle to pay their next energy bill. 1 No one wants to get into debt or have bills they can’t afford to pay. Anyone can fall into financial hardship for all sorts of reasons - that are often beyond their control. But many who are struggling aren’t asking for help. In fact, more than a third are suffering in silence. 1
Sometimes it can be easier to pretend everything is okay. It can feel easier to avoid opening up about debt problems. Maybe we want to protect those close to us from our problems, or we’re frightened of being judged.
But this doesn’t solve the issue. That’s why we’re working with rapper and mental-health activist, Professor Green to raise awareness of the burden of energy debt – and crucially - that no one should suffer in silence. Support is available, from organisations like the British Gas Energy Trust, an independent charity set up to help tackle fuel poverty and energy debt.
Stop the silence
We want to help remove the stigma of debt and encourage people to talk about their finances so they can get the help they need.
To raise awareness of the support available via the British Gas Energy Trust, we’ve created an emotive film, featuring the voice of Professor Green. The shows a single dad silently struggling with the burden of not being able to pay his bills, without confiding in those around him.
Rapper, documentary maker, and mental health activist Professor Green – aka Stephen Manderson – has had a successful career. But he remembers growing up in a home with stress over money.
As many people know, my parents weren’t around growing up and my grandmother raised me on an estate in Hackney. Money was always tight, and there was always stress about paying our energy bill. Advice and services, like those provided by British Gas Energy Trust, just weren’t available to us and those around me. I urge families and individuals suffering in silence to reach out to get the help they so desperately need.
How the British Gas Energy Trust can help
We want to help families and individuals tackle energy and household debt. That’s why we have an independent charity, the British Gas Energy Trust. 2 The Trust is funded solely by British Gas and provides support to vulnerable households no matter who their supplier is. The Trust is one of the UK’s largest, grant-giving energy trusts.
The British Gas Energy Trust funds advice-giving organisations across England, Wales, and Scotland. You can speak to a trained advisor for free in-person, online, or by phone. A debt adviser can help you find ways to manage your debts, even if you think you have no spare money. They can also suggest ways to deal with your debts and maximise your budget. Most people who take the step to get debt advice feel more in control of their lives again. Many often wish they had sought advice earlier.
Getting money and energy advice
We’ve mapped and listed all Trust-funded organisations offering free, impartial advice on energy and money. You can find your local advice centre on the Trust’s website. Online debt and money information are also available at www.turn2us.org.uk, www.StepChange.org and on the Citizens Advice national website.
Extra support for British Gas customers
There’s lots of ways that we can help our customers manage their energy bills a little more easily.
Pay less, more often
Do you currently pay a bigger bill every three months? It might be easier to pay a smaller, more manageable amount every month instead.
If you’re a prepayment or pay-as-you-go energy customer, we’ve got lots of information about topping up, emergency credit, and replacements cards and keys.
Using less energy to lower your bills
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your bills, lowering your energy usage may help.
Struggling with your energy bills?
If we supply your energy and you’re finding it difficult to pay your bills, then we want to help. Don't be afraid to tell us why you're struggling - we'll do everything we can to support you.
The Priority Services Register
If you need extra help with managing your energy account, we can add you to our Priority Services Register. This is a free support service for people who may be vulnerable – perhaps because of their age, health, or disability, or if they’re going through a difficult time in their lives.
Get help from our support fund
We’ve increased our support fund to £6 million to help customers struggling with energy costs. Our fund is one of the biggest in the UK. 3 Through the fund, thousands of British Gas customers can apply for grants between £250 and £750 to help pay towards their energy bills.
We’ve written to thousands of customers that we think may be eligible. Here’s a brief rundown of how the grant works:
- The fund is administered by the British Gas Energy Trust so you’ll need to apply on the website
- The Trust will need to see proof of household income, including all of the adults you live with, details of any savings, and a meter reading of your gas and electricity account
- The Trust will check applications against an existing set of criteria to identify those most in need of additional support
Why have energy prices risen so much?
We know that increased energy costs add to the costs of living. Ofgem increased the Price Cap on 1 April because of the massive increase in wholesale energy costs. 4 This is the cost energy suppliers like us, must pay for the gas and electricity we supply to you.
For a typical household, credit customers will pay £693 (excluding VAT) more - an average of 54% more on their annual energy bill - working out at £58 per month. Prepayment customers have seen an increase of £708 (excluding VAT) per year, or £59 per month. 5
We publish regular updates on the energy market, energy prices, and what we’re doing to help.
The research was conducted by You Gov Plc. The total sample size was 2,019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 23rd March 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
British Gas Energy Trust is Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation no 1179578.
Source: BBC News: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58620167
Source: British Gas: Energy Price News