It seems that Coronavirus is all anyone is able to to talk about at the moment, and it’s easy to see why. In a matter of weeks the virus has seen an unprecedented change to the way of life for billions of people. There are a lot of things to consider regarding the outbreak, health and wellbeing of the vulnerable of course being top. A large portion of British people are discovering that finances come a close second. An increasing number of people are finding themselves unable to work, either because of self-quarantine, social isolation, reduced hours, or closed businesses; a lot of others are also working from home, which comes with its own expenses. People are struggling all over the country to pay their bills, and with so much uncertainty it’s important to get as much clarity as possible on the current situation.
We can’t tell you what the future looks like for all your finances, but we want to try to keep people as informed as possible regarding the coronavirus effect on energy bills.
What are the energy companies doing?
Preparing for staff shortages
Government talks have taken place to plan for up to 80% of the workforce to be absent, putting strategies in place to maintain power lines and gas pipes.
Postponing non-critical works
The Guardian is reporting that energy network bosses have agreed to postpone all nonessential maintenance on the UK’s critical energy infrastructure.
Energy companies are considering pushing through training for staff members so that they can be allocated the most critical spots.
The energy companies and the government really don’t want anyone to panic, assuring the public that they do not need to expect blackouts or price hikes. From what we can tell, this seems accurate, at the very least for now.
EDF Energy, one of the biggest utility operators in the country, has set a precedent by saying that it’s considering delaying energy payments for people who are working from home or self isolating. To ease the financial strains being put on people, EDF has said that they will look at each situation on a case-by-case basis and try to offer more lenient payment plans to those affected by the Coronavirus.
Will other companies offer delayed payments too?
It’s hard to say, since events are moving so fast at the moment. It’s possible that the government will intervene and put in place measures to ensure that people are not left self-isolating without the energy and heating that they need.
We’re keeping an eye on how energy companies continue to react in the coming days and weeks ahead and will continue to keep you informed.
There is a lot of misinformation and sensationalism in the media at the moment, but it’s important to focus on the facts. In many ways it feels like the world has changed overnight for many of us, and the outbreak will inevitably force our energy network to evolve and adapt just like the rest of our lives. At the moment, the government and energy companies are working hard on doing that without disrupting daily life more than absolutely necessary.
Update 19th March: From today, those with a prepayment meter who cannot pay by card can get in touch with their energy supplier and request that they stay connected. The government has also pledged to help others in financial distress. If you have any concerns about your energy supply during this difficult time, we suggest that you get in immediate contact with your energy supplier.
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