Breakdown of repayment arrangement
If a change of circumstances has occurred which has affected your ability to pay, ask the supplier to consider a revised payment arrangement. Suppliers are obliged to consider this under the licence conditions.1Condition 27.5 to 27.8 SLC Your supplier may include a statement about changes of circumstances, payment difficulties or vulnerabilities in its code of practice. Note that the provisions within SLC can be enforced by Ofgem in individual cases, in contrast to the provisions within the code of practice, which are voluntary. Any special circumstances ought to be brought to the attention of the supplier. If your circumstances have not changed, it may have been that the level of repayment was too high in the first place and the supplier had not acted in the spirit of the licence conditions, taking into account your affordability, nor adhered to Ofgem’s ‘ability to pay’ principles.2Ofgem, Key principles for ability to pay, 3 June 2010 If this is so, ask for a revised payment arrangement based on a more detailed picture of your financial circumstances. For example, if you have obtained debt advice for the first time and your adviser has helped you to prepare a financial statement. Otherwise, you may be obliged to accept a prepayment meter as an alternative to disconnection.
If you cannot manage the payment level you have agreed, always try to pay something, however small, and on your usual payment date, even if you are in the process of negotiating a new payment arrangement. Doing so demonstrates ‘good faith’; you want to address your debt, but cannot afford to do so at the previously agreed level.
In the event of a dispute and a threat of disconnection, contact Citizens Advice consumer service for advice.