SSE Airtricity Gas NI Limited - Having difficulty paying your bill?

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Having difficulty paying your bill?

Payment difficulties

SSE Airtricity Gas NI is committed to engaging and working with customers who are having difficulties paying bills. If you are worried about bills or money you owe us, we would encourage you to talk to us. It is important that you keep to a payment arrangement once this has been agreed but if you have difficulty paying for your natural gas please contact us immediately, so that we can help you.

We will also take reasonable steps in our dealings with customers to identify customers who are experiencing financial difficulties. We guarantee that all of our correspondence will be non-threatening and supportive and all our customer contact will be friendly and non-aggressive. We will work with agencies working on the customer’s behalf and use information provided to determine a customer’s ability to make payment. Agencies such as Advice NI can assist you with independent financial advice. You can contact them on 02890 645919 or email them at info@adviceni.net.

Special Payment Arrangements

If you agree to an instalment plan, you can agree to pay a certain amount on a regular basis by direct debit, cash or through a Pay as You Go Meter (PAYG). We are committed to working with you to set up a reasonable and flexible payment arrangement that suits your needs, regardless of your payment preference (e.g. credit, direct debit or PAYG).

We will monitor how customers are meeting payment arrangements and endeavour to ensure that repayments are appropriate for each customer’s individual circumstances. We will take into account factors which may exacerbate difficulty in paying bills such as poor literacy, numeracy or IT skills, lack of bank account or rurality. We will offer a reasonable repayment period for standard credit and Direct Debit customers. If your circumstances change and you are experiencing difficulties adhering to an agreed repayment arrangement, please contact us with any additional information that could help us reassess your case.

Alternatively or in the event that you are unable to meet your payment arrangement, we can install a Pay As You Go (PAYG) meter to assist you in paying for your natural gas. This puts you in control by allowing you to purchase natural gas as and when you want to. The meter will also be set to recover some of your debt each time you top up. You will not receive any further bills but you will receive an annual statement of usage. We will discuss repayment of outstanding arrears with you and will calibrate your PAYG meter to recover up to a maximum rate of 40% of your vend towards those arrears taking into account your ability to pay. More information on PAYG can be found in our Code of Practice on Services for Prepayment Customers.


You can contact us on 0345 900 5253 or write to: -
Credit Control Manager
SSE Airtricity Gas (NI) Ltd.
3rd Floor Millennium House
19-25 Great Victoria Street
Belfast
Northern Ireland
BT2 7AQ.

Disconnection

Once you receive your natural gas bill, payment is due immediately. If unpaid, a reminder letter will follow. Where any balance remains unpaid, a disconnection notice will be issued to you in writing.

We will only disconnect your natural gas supply as a last resort and in order to prevent this we promise to: -

  • Advise you to contact us for help.
  • Train our staff to offer relevant advice and help.
  • Train staff to identify and signpost vulnerable customers to other organisations who offer independent advice and assistance.
  • Discuss appropriate payment methods and repayment plans based on your personal circumstances and ability to pay.
  • Give you a range of ways to contact us and avoid disconnection which may include fitting a Pay as You Go meter.
  • Give you written notice of our intention to disconnect, if you have not contacted us.
  • Advise you of any reconnection charges levied by the Network Operator and the minimum number of days it will take to reconnect, should disconnection occur.
  • We will use all reasonable efforts to avoid disconnecting you if you are supplied through a non-domestic supply (e.g. if you live in a flat above a shop).
Older People, disabled and chronically sick customers

We will not disconnect your natural gas supply in the winter (between 1st October and 31st March) if:

  • You are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick and live alone; or
  • You are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick and live with others, all of whom are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick; or
  • You are of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick and live with others who are less than 16 years of age.

However, we will still seek to recover any amounts due to us.

Reconnection

If disconnection has occurred, before the supply can be reconnected you must pay the amount owed. You will also have to pay a reconnection fee. Once these payments are received the reconnection can be planned and you will be advised when this will take place, subject to the relevant minimum number of days.
Contact us on 0345 900 5253 for information on current reconnection charges.

If your supply has been disconnected and we do not hear from you, we will take legal action to recover the money you owe us, along with any incurred costs. In the unlikely event that you have been disconnected in error, please contact us immediately and we will endeavour to ensure you are reconnected within 24 hours. We will not impose any disconnection or reconnection charge where we have disconnected you in error.

Interference with the gas supply or meter

You are responsible for making sure the gas meter and equipment is protected, kept in safe condition, not damaged, stolen, subject to meter tampering or otherwise interfered with by anyone, whether deliberately or accidentally and whether with or without your knowledge or consent. Any form of meter tampering or interference with the gas supply at any property is extremely dangerous. Meter tampering is also a serious criminal offence and if your meter is confirmed by the Network Operator to have been tampered with, legal action may be taken which could result in criminal prosecution.

If the Network Operator concludes that the meter or supply at your property has been tampered or interfered with in any way, we will seek to recover all associated costs including the cost of repairing and replacing metering equipment and all charges for natural gas that has not been paid for.

The gas supply at your property may be disconnected from the natural gas network if there is a considered risk to to the health of you, your family and neighbours, and safety due to meter tampering or interference with the gas supply.

Further Advice

If you are unhappy with the level of repayment, you can contact the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. If requested during a complaints investigation, SSE Airtricity will provide, to the Council, evidence on the procedures we used for assessing ability to pay.

If you require further information or support your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Consumer Council may be able to assist you. Contact details can be found below. We will work with any agency you choose to represent you.

Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Regional Office
46 Donegall Pass
Belfast
BT7 1BS

Consumer Council
Floor 3, Seatem House,
28-32 Alfred Street,
Belfast,
County Antrim
BT2 8EN

SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

If you smell gas, phone the 24-hour Northern Ireland Gas Emergency Service on 0800 002 001.