British Gas launches scheme that matches energy payments – check if you qualify | Personal Finance | Finance

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British Gas has announced a new scheme that will 100 percent match energy payments made by customers who are struggling and most in need of help.

The £15 million scheme will launch in June and aims to provide targeted support for customers that are in or are facing fuel poverty, helping them to either not fall into debt or to reduce existing debt.

Eligible customers will be identified proactively and receive the support after an assessment by one of our specifically trained advisors – customers do not need to contact British Gas to apply.

British Gas will match payments made by those who can afford to pay something over a period of six months and there is no minimum level of debt balance for them to qualify.

For example, a customer paying £100 a month will pay £600 over 6 months and we will pay an additional £600 credit on their account, which may also help towards clearing an outstanding balance owed.

The new scheme forms part of the company’s overall £140m package and is in addition to support already offered via the British Gas Energy Trust (BGET) for all energy consumers, including grants of up to £2000 and funding for advice centres and charities.

You Pay: We Pay scheme –

A detailed assessment would be made to determine if customers qualify for the scheme but broadly, they must:

  • Be in or facing fuel poverty
  • Must have obtained or will obtain debt advice
  • Have been a British Gas customer for at least 6 months
  • Pre-agree a payment amount following the assessment

Chris O’Shea, CEO of Centrica, parent company of British Gas said: “While it’s been good news that food and energy prices are falling, for many households the cost-of-living crisis is far from over, not least because of the more recent increases in rent and mortgage costs.

“At the end of each week or month there will be those that have little, if any, money left after paying for life’s essentials. That’s why we’ve put £140 million into supporting those who need help the most.

“We know debt can have a corrosive effect on mental health. Most people want to pay their bills, but it can be very difficult to pay for what you need and clear debts. We want to try and help customers wipe the debt slate clean with this new approach, and to put our customers on a better footing to recover from this period of high inflation.

“This scheme isn’t a silver bullet. How we support people who struggle to afford life’s basic necessities is a wider societal issue and this is why we are a strong advocate for the introduction of a social tariff.

“What we need to do is think differently about how we help people and I think this is the sort of approach that can have real and immediate impact on people’s well-being by helping them reduce the burden of debt.”

Richard Lane, Chief Client Officer at debt advice charity StepChange said: ‘‘At StepChange, we know all too well that the rising cost-of-living has been devastating, pushing more and more families into debt. We also know that many households will need support to clear arrears that have built up that will otherwise risk trapping them in debt and financial hardship.

“It’s great to see innovative approaches from companies like British Gas that have the potential to make a real impact for struggling households through this difficult period.

“Of course, during difficult times, there’s always more that will need to be done, but a combination of financial support and access to holistic debt advice from charities like StepChange can put people on a pathway to manage their bills and become debt free. We will continue to work closely with British Gas to support their customers and refer households to this new initiative.’’

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