Energy bills during Corona Virus: Follow these tips…

During this unprecedented crisis I am pleased to share that suppliers are being co-operative and creative in offering reasonable support to customers. Suppliers are keen to play their part to help business survive the economic challenge brought about by the Corona Virus Crisis. Just like your business, our business will face serious challenges due to this crisis as well, so we want to help bridge the gap to better days ahead.

It is important to remember that your electricity or gas supplier is not the bad guy, they also have their own bills to pay, the cannot simply waive bills. A collaborative approach between supplier and customer is be the best way to ensure long term survival of both parties during this time. To put it simply, please pay your bills on time as best you can. If you have a genuine need for assistance reach out to Direct Power for guidance. If your supplier is listed below follow the steps they outline. Note, these comments are correct at time of publishing, this is an evolving situation so will be subject to change and update. Be mindful that suppliers also have their working routines disrupted by the crisis, so it is recommended that you e-mail in your queries, do not call. You should also register to view bills online or receive them via e-mail. No one needs to make trips to the office to collect bills during the lockdown. We encourage everyone to practice patience and understanding is essential at this time. At Direct Power we can hold your hand through this process and will work hard to do what we can to facilitate the long term viability of both customer and supplier throughout this challenging time. If you need our assistance drop us a line, or e-mail us a copy of a bill and a brief explanation of the situation you face. It is better to approach the supplier in advance, do not wait for your bill to arrive.

Key points regarding energy bills during Corona Crisis

1. Ensure you can view your bills online, or receive them via e-mail, don’t rely on paper bills whilst you are locked out of your place of business.
2. Communicate with your supplier via e-mail, not phone, most folks are working remotely.
3. Communicate in advance if you anticipate having trouble paying bills over the next couple of months, be proactive not reactive.
4. Get in touch with Direct Power for guidance through these challenging times.
5. Change your billing address if you need to receive correspondence at your home instead of the office during this time.
6. Submit a meter read only if it is safe to do so mindful of all social distancing guidelines, this will ensure accurate billing during the downturn. You can also contact your supplier to advise to use a lower than normal estimated read if you cannot submit your own meter read.

Here is additional guidance from some of the suppliers we work alongside:

Npower
As a responsible company, and in order to support you and your business at this challenging time, npower Business Solutions can offer the flexibility of sending copy invoices to a temporary site or location in the event that you need to work from home.

We can also update our records with any back-up contacts should a key member(s) of your team be off sick for a prolonged period.

Please provide us with any names, and alternative invoicing addresses that you would like us to send invoices to, by emailing us at yourbusiness@npower.com. Please also provide an up to date email address.

Did you know that you can quickly and easily sign-up to our Direct Debit service? Simply call our Customer Contact Team on 0845 166 3634. We are open 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30am – 5:00pm on Fridays and will be happy to help.

npower business solutions is offering additional support to its customers affected by COVID-19 who are experiencing financial difficulties. If you believe you fall within this category and are struggling to pay your invoices, it is important that you make contact with our Debt Support Team Birchdebtsolutions@innogy.com Tel: 0845 166 3634 as soon as possible where they will be able to help you.

Please note that every customer will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Haven Power
Haven’s finance team will review customers on a case by case basis with the aim to provide payment holidays where reasonable. The advice is to e-mail your account manager, do not call them. You can find the correct e-mail address on the upper right hand side of your bill. Send the request for a payment holiday along with your account number, MPAN and full contact details. Haven’s finance department will review and liaise with each customer case by case.

SSE
Payment arrangements outside of contracted terms and conditions will depend on each unique situation. SSE’s Collections department is happy to speak about individual needs – it is recommended to email the team at csi@sse.com – SSE will work to assess what flexibility can be provided to support companies through this period. Please be patient, the team is understandably very busy at the moment so there may be longer than usual wait times.

Engie
Requires their clients to submit delayed payment proposals and requests to defer payments in writing. SME Customers are to email credit.control@engie.com larger I&C customers are to e-mail iccreditcontrol@engie.com include details of the account, site, supply number and contact details for the person making the request. Engie will log the request and communicate directly with the customer to address the situation.

Gazprom
Gazprom have now published a helpful list of FAQs on our website which can be found HERE.  Under the ‘I am worried about my energy bills what can you do to help’ – there is a link to a financial difficulty form.  Please complete this at your earliest convenience if you wish to request any amendments to your current contractual payment terms.

Crown
In these unprecedented times, Crown Gas and Power are closely monitoring developments of the Coronavirus whilst following the guidelines issued by the Government. We are both sympathetic and aware of the financial pressures this could bring to our customers and suppliers alike. Whilst we would like to offer all our customers payment holidays, unfortunately, this as a business will be un-sustainable however, we will endeavour to sensitively treat customers financially impacted.

If you need more information about the impact Covid-19 could have on your business we can signpost you to the following articles:
Latest Government advice
Government funding and financial support
You can also sign up to receive updates from the government here

Contact your Crown Account manager to discuss the specifics of your account using the e-mail address found on the bill.

EDF
Direct Power’s account manager advises the supplier is reviewing customers on a case by case basis and the EDF senior management are meeting twice a week to discuss them. If you need assistance, send a copy of your bill to Direct Power, outlining your specific circumstances so Direct Power can help you request relief due to Corona Virus crisis.

Total
Total are unable to offer payment holidays, however they advise if your latest invoice has produced and you cannot pay this fully please contact them by email on credit.sme@totalgp.com so that they can see how they can assist.

Times like this call for calm, and rationality. Yes it is scary, yes it is frustrating, even heart-breaking to witness a business that you have built up over the years struggle. The corona virus crisis is beyond our control, so we have to focus now on what we can do as individuals to improve our circumstances. Follow the steps outlined above and get in touch if you need your hand held through this crisis. We are here to help as much as we can. Our business will also face hardship due to this crisis, we want to stay busy and positive, the best way to achieve this is by helping you.

How will you be affected by Corona Virus?