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most of my income support being given to british gas/severn trent. help!!

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hi everyone, i have got myself it to some debt with british gas/severn trent, totalling 800pounds.

i rang them up to arrange a payment plan and they agreed to a direct debit of 100pounds a month and i gave them my bank details and thought that was the end of it.

about 12 days later i got a letter of income support saying that they were taking 50pound a week to give to BG and severn trent. this leaves me with 20 a week.

i phoned IS and explained that i had already arranged a payment plan but they contacted BG and BG told them i had agreed to have this money taken out of my benefits. income support said that BG decides how much they take and they can't do anything about it. so i asked if BG can just send them a letter and take as much money as they like out of anyones benefits? apparently they can.

this is leaving me in a very bad situation, im going to struggle to pay for the basics like nappies and baby formula.

does anyone know of way to get this amount lowered? thanks.

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Yes.

 

Stop using as much energy. Simple.

 

It is a payment that is taken at source for your average usage plus £3.55 per week towards your debt. Drop your usage and it will be paid off sooner as it cancels automatically once you are in credit.

 

British Gas put in the application based on your average usage and your debt. The DWP make the decision about allowing it, they have obviously deemed you can afford it. Your benefits are supposed to be for priority bills. Benefits are meant to ensure an existance, not a way of life.

 

British Gas/Severn Trent aren't the same company by the way...

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Hi

 

@ Climate once again not helping the OP try reading exactly what is written before jumping to such an opinion of people.

 

The Op has stated that they had setup a pyment plan with BG, BG then went behind OPs back to DWP to claim the £50 off IS stating OP had agreed when in fact the OP had no knowledge of this.

 

So once again how is this simple?


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Hi

 

@ Climate once again not helping the OP try reading exactly what is written before jumping to such an opinion of people.

 

The Op has stated that they had setup a pyment plan with BG, BG then went behind OPs back to DWP to claim the £50 off IS stating OP had agreed when in fact the OP had no knowledge of this.

 

So once again how is this simple?

 

Again, you should also try reading what is posted.

 

He asked how to get it lowered, I answered that. You didn't, you have nit-picked.

 

He cannot differentiate between different companies.

 

I should have added that he could apply for the 'British Gas Energy Trust Fund' (I cannot post the link as I am new). Maybe instead of lambasting my posts you could have done that? Nope, thought not...

 

That's how it is simple...

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Hi

 

So how exactly was your SIMPLE advice helping the OP?

 

British Gas Energy Trust Link: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/


How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Hi

 

So how exactly was your SIMPLE advice helping the OP?

 

British Gas Energy Trust Link: (HAD TO REMOVE LINK TO POST - SEE ABOVE by Stu007!)

 

Did he, or did he not ask the following?

 

'does anyone know of way to get this amount lowered?'

 

Have I or have I not offered 2 suggestions on how to lower the amount; 1) Lower the usage. 2) Apply for the trust fund (that can clear debt and you can only have payments taken from benefits if in arrears, just to clairfy).

 

So to summise, yes I do think I have potentially helped the OP. Have you?

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thanks for replies.

climate: i cannot lower the amount i use anymore than i do, i really only use the bare minimum. i have 2 kids under the age of 2, they cannot be cold or they will get ill. what am i meant to do? also it doesn't help that i have an old back boiler system that are more expensive to run.

can i ask why you are assuming i am on benefits as a way of life? i am on benefits due to a relationship breakdown, if i went to work the childcare costs would be more than my wages. if it because you have read previous post about a samsung tv that i want you to know that my kids dad paid for it because it is for them. also i would love to know anyone who has ' a way of life' on 60 quid a week!!

i will aply to BG fund today.

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just re read your posts re the amount.

wheni spoke to BG about a payment plan they told me that my usage is 80 pounds a month (which is low for a 3 bedroomed hpuse i think). that is how we came to the agreement of 100 pounds, 80 for usage, 20 for debt.

so they are now taking 160 a month, 80 usage, 80 debt. surely this is to much for me to be paying from the debt?

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anyone else know what to do, i really need to sort htis today as i can't sleep worrying about it. thanks.

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Have you spoken to them and confirmed that they definitely want the direct debit payment and the benefit deduction? because honestly. £160 a month is extremly high in my opinion. you should definitly look at applying to the charis trust for a grant to pay off the outstanding balance though, and much as I'm loathe to say it, we're paying a lot less for energy since we had pre-pay meters put in, and That's including a debt repayment. I'd say that so far we're looking at a third less.


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

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Sorry for double post, on my phone and space is limited. don't worry about anyone suggesting that you're using benefits as a way of life, let it go over your head. the important thing here is to get this sorted so you can buy the essentials, heat your home and repay what you owe at a sensible rate. you're not the only person to run into problems with energy bills, and you definitely won't be the last! for thee record, I would say £80 is pretty average.


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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Yes, I note you are retro-spectively changing your story now from having bought a £450 TV to it having been a gift. Quite what 2 kids under the age of 2 need with a wall mounted 40" Samsung smart TV I do not know, especially if it means they are going cold instead?

 

That was the sort of thing I was getting at about priority bills - water, utilities, food. Not mobiles, Internet, sky/cable etc. That's what benefits are for, not so you can run up £800 of arrears for those priority bills that you have used to supply your £450 TV. You won't find sympathy from me on that front.

 

just re read your posts re the amount.

wheni spoke to BG about a payment plan they told me that my usage is 80 pounds a month (which is low for a 3 bedroomed hpuse i think). that is how we came to the agreement of 100 pounds, 80 for usage, 20 for debt.

so they are now taking 160 a month, 80 usage, 80 debt. surely this is to much for me to be paying from the debt?

 

I think you are getting the wrong end of the stick somewhere and I suspect it relates to the fact you are talking about 2 different companies throughout this.

 

Anything taken from your benefits is your average weekly usage + £3.55 per week (per fuel) so they CANNOT be taking £80 towards the debt, that isn't how the scheme works. Is it dual fuel you are on? If so, are you on combined billing or do you have seperate account numbers for both gas and electric?

 

If your £80 usage is for both gas and electric then it is indeed below average, if it's just for gas it is above average and if it were for electric it would be more than double the average.

Edited by Climate

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Well my kids don't 'need' a tv but the reason it is wall mounted is because my oldest pulled the last one of the table on top of herself. My ex and there dad offered to buy me a tv, i didn't ask him for a big one he just chose that one. And im not changing my story there was just no need to explain the whole background of who actually paid for the tv in my last post. Climate i really hope that you never have any life problems that result in you having to claim benefits as surely you would be to proud and starve instead?!!

My usage is 80 for gas and electric a month.

I have seperate bills for each.

I might not have explained properly, they are taking 80 every 2 weeks out of my payments. I get paid 42 every 2 weeks now.

20 gas 20 electric 10 water every week.

Laughing girl, i know i should ignore these comments but they really get to me! I have applied for grant today. I have also tried to get this amount lowered but neither bg or income support will help, both are saying its the others ones responsibility. Really stressed out!!

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So do you have seperate account numbers for each? That's the important part in this. Your account number will be 12 digits long and start with 8500.

 

If you have seperate account numbers then £3.55 a week goes towards the gas and the same towards the electric in which case, assuming your consumption remains constant, you will be debt free in 113 weeks - 2 years, 2 months and 1 week. (800/7.10) Then your benefits will return to normal but you will need to make an arrangement for your ongoing usage from that stage.

 

If however you only have 1 account number but get a combined bill (it will give a breakdown of usage for gas and electric still) then you will only be paying £3.55 a week. In principle it sounds like you have seperate account numbers if you have had the figure broken down into a per fuel basis.

 

You have been told the correct information, BG will NOT lower it. You are paying back an £800 debt at frozen interest for over 2 years (though the right to charge you interest is stated in your T&C's) If they lowered it your debt (and their loss on your account) would increase. The DWP cannot alter the figure, they simple say yes/no when the application is made so they have deemed you can afford it.

 

Your options to get out of it are to pay it off I'm full or to drop your usage so it's paid off quicker as it will cease once you are in credit because it's a debt only facility.

 

P.S. Beware your usage doesn't increase, otherwise when it gets reassessed it will go up...

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Well my kids don't 'need' a tv but the reason it is wall mounted is because my oldest pulled the last one of the table on top of herself. My ex and there dad offered to buy me a tv, i didn't ask him for a big one he just chose that one. And im not changing my story there was just no need to explain the whole background of who actually paid for the tv in my last post. Climate i really hope that you never have any life problems that result in you having to claim benefits as surely you would be to proud and starve instead?!!

My usage is 80 for gas and electric a month.

I have seperate bills for each.

I might not have explained properly, they are taking 80 every 2 weeks out of my payments. I get paid 42 every 2 weeks now.

20 gas 20 electric 10 water every week.

Laughing girl, i know i should ignore these comments but they really get to me! I have applied for grant today. I have also tried to get this amount lowered but neither bg or income support will help, both are saying its the others ones responsibility. Really stressed out!!

 

Bearing in mind Climate's response below, have you definitely been told that you are required to continue with the direct debit repayments alongside the deductions from your income support?


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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Bearing in mind Climate's response below, have you definitely been told that you are required to continue with the direct debit repayments alongside the deductions from your income support?

 

It's not possible to have 2 seperate payment scheme options on the same account, you cannot have a DD and Fuel Direct (where it's taken from benefits) at the same time. It's an either/or scenario but additional debit/credit card payments can be made etc.

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Yesterday someone at bg told me that the direct debit had been cancelled by them, but they didn't know why.

Climate, i have seen on another post that you used to work for bg debt department. Are they allowed to make an arrangement to take money out of my benefits without asking me? Income support told me that i must have agreed to this at some point but i know for a fact i didn't, i agreed to a dd.

And if my usage is 80 a month for both, i am paying well over 3.55 on the debt. I am paying 20 a week towards the debt.

Ive just double checked and i only have 1 customer reference number.

Will bg consider lowering the weekly amount?

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To be honest i am thinking of ending my claim for income support today and starting it again tomorrow as it will take a while for the deductions to start again and by then my application to the fund would have gone through.

It is the only thing i can think of doing if they won't lower the weekly amount.

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no i have at no time been asked or given consent.

i have applied for grant and income support are ringing me back in next 3 hrs as BG have agreed to cancel this until grant application has gone through.

am i in my right to ask for the 100 income support have taken out of my money back as they didn't have consent?

thanks for any advice and the link!

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ok asked them about 25% and they said that is from all the benefits i get including council tax housing benefit.

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Yesterday someone at bg told me that the direct debit had been cancelled by them, but they didn't know why.

 

There could be a number of reasons; 1) You have already had too many failed payment schemes so you would crop up on a report (you are limited to 2), 2) You bank with someone who as you have failed a DD with the same originator code (the reference that they put so as to know which account the incoming DD relates to) the bank automatically cancel it. That's common, especially with Santander.

 

Climate, i have seen on another post that you used to work for bg debt department. Are they allowed to make an arrangement to take money out of my benefits without asking me? Income support told me that i must have agreed to this at some point but i know for a fact i didn't, i agreed to a dd.

And if my usage is 80 a month for both, i am paying well over 3.55 on the debt. I am paying 20 a week towards the debt.

Ive just double checked and i only have 1 customer reference number.

Will bg consider lowering the weekly amount?

 

Yes they are. They are a creditor for whom your benefits are supposed to be paid to as they are for priority bills.

 

It's physically impossible that they are taking more than £3.55 a week towards the debt. I really cannot make it any clearer. They simply complete the application with your average usage, they do not get to specify the amount towards the arrears, it is set @ £3.55 a week this financial year, therefore I doubt your average usage is £80 a month, especially with a very inefficient back boiler in place.

 

As I keep saying, they will not lower it as it is based on AVERAGE consumption. If they lowered it your debt would increase and so would their losses on your account. They are a business and have decided that your account is in such a mess they will take the hit and accept a measly £3.55 a week towards your debt but you are covering your ongoing usage (though that does get reassessed.)

 

To be honest i am thinking of ending my claim for income support today and starting it again tomorrow as it will take a while for the deductions to start again and by then my application to the fund would have gone through.

It is the only thing i can think of doing if they won't lower the weekly amount.

 

I do not work for the DWP but that sounds like a very foolish idea.

 

no i have at no time been asked or given consent.

i have applied for grant and income support are ringing me back in next 3 hrs as BG have agreed to cancel this until grant application has gone through.

am i in my right to ask for the 100 income support have taken out of my money back as they didn't have consent?

thanks for any advice and the link!

 

Again, not a very good move. Part of what they look at on your application is your consistency and willingness to make payments so the fact that you have chosen to put yourself back into the debt process by cancelling an agreement that is in place to help people budget will be frowned upon. You are now viewed as 'can pay but will not pay'.

 

Off the information that you have already posted on this thread you really don't have a hope in hell with that trust fund. It is for people in utter abject poverty, people who are trying to help themselves. It's not there for people who simply want their gas/electric bill to go away and pay nothing which is how you will now be viewed. I do not want you to think that's being rude, I am just trying to make you realise that you will be unsuccessful, people seem to think that they will get it automatically, out of the thousands of people that apply very few get it.

 

Why not go for a pay as you go meter? That's what you are going to end up with at this rate, at least if you opt for it now they will fit it free, otherwise it's over £250 a meter if they fit it under warrant, so that's another £500 of debt. Plus you have your winter usage coming up, so you could quite easily be £2k+ in arrears by the time it's March.

 

By cancelling the arrangement you had in place you have also further damaged your credit file as they report on the oldest part of the bill.

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I have asked both BG and IS how much of the payments are for debt and how much are for usage but no one will tell me. I have worked out my last 12 months of bills for gas and electric and it averages out at £67 a month. i am very careful with my gas and electric. So i can't see how only 3.55 is for the debt as i am not usage doesn't cover the rest. Is it possible someone has made a mistake somewhere when working it out? Or just put my usage as the average for a 3 bed house?

Arn't the pay as you go meters notoriously expensive? I have lived in a flat with one about

7 yrs ago and we were putting at least a £5 in a day. That was on electric with storage heaters.

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To be honest, pay as you go meters used to be ridiculously expensive, but i've just had an electric one put in and we've used £25 in two and a bit weeks. it's actually working out considerably cheaper than my dual fuel (allegedly) discounted direct debit, which was astronomically expensive. we're also in a three bed house incidentally. your problem was probably the storage heaters - they're really, really expensive to run.


"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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Yeah ive heard that storage heaters are expensive. and the flat was boiling at night and freezing during the day!

how did you end up getting the meter? did they make you get it?

i don't mind having a meter if there not more expensive but im worried about my landlord and if they would mind. i don't really want to tell them im in any trouble with bills as they are freinds with my ex's family and i know they will all end up gossiping about it (small town!)

do ypu have a newish boiler or an old one?

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