Renfrewshire Council

Payment options for your gas and electricity bills

There are many ways to pay for your fuel. It's important to select the most suitable for your own individual circumstances and discuss this with your chosen fuel supplier.

Quarterly / Bi-monthly credit

You will receive a bill from your supplier every 2-3 months.

Advantages: You only have to think about a bill when it arrives

Disadvantages: It's difficult to budget due to large difference between winter and summer bills

Who this may suit: Homes with a stable income. Homes whose income can easily accommodate fluctuating bills.

Monthly Direct Debit from your bank

Money is taken directly from your bank to cover the bills

Advantages: Not worrying about large bills. Lower unit charges or discounts for direct debit.

Disadvantages: You must have a bank account. You have to make sure your fuel consumption doesn't go over what you can afford to pay. If you don't have enough in your bank account to cover the bill - you could incur bank charges.

Who this may suit: Homes with a regular income. Those who find monthly budgeting easier than quarterly.

Standing Order from your bank

Payment of a set amount every week, fortnight or month - based on what your supplier estimates you use.

Advantages: Payment is the same all year round.

Disadvantages: Must have bank account. Must make sure consumption doesn't exceed payment. If you've not got enough in the bank to cover the payment, you may incur bank charges. Standing Orders don't benefit from discounts. Doesn't encourage estimated bills to be checked before payment.

Who this may suit: Households with a regular income. Those who find monthly budgeting easier than quarterly.  

Flexi Plan or Pay as You Go

Pre-payments of different amounts can be made in advance.

Advantages: Flexibility. You can pay money towards your next bill when you have it.

Disadvantages: Have to be careful to pay off the next bill before it's due.

Who this may suit: Those with irregular incomes, such as self employed or those who work varying amounts of overtime. Those on a low fixed income.

Budget schemes or 'cashplan' without bank account

Regular payments are made at the Post Office

Advantages: Payment on a regular basis. Can pay at the post office or Pay Point outlet.

Disadvantages: Possible inconvenience and travel costs associated.

Who this may suit: Homes without a bank account. Households who want to pay at regular intervals.

Pre-payment meters

Cared are purchased to 'charge up' the meter

Advantages: You pay for your fuel as you use it. You can budget according to your means. You have no large bills to worry about.

Disadvantages:  It's more expensive. If cards aren't sold nearby you, it could be an inconvenience to go and get one.

Who this may suit: Those with easy access to places selling tokens/cards. Those who are in debt (as they can re-pay the debt by topping up the meter).

Fuel Direct

Used for debt repayment by those on income support

Advantages: Payment for current use of fuel and debt taken directly out of benefits. Fuels expenditure and debt repayment are evenly spread.

Disadvantages:  If your current fuel use is more than the amount paid in Fuel Direct - money will still be owed and deductions from your benefit will have to rise.

Who this may suit: Fuel Direct is only for those receiving income support and other qualifying benefits that are in fuel debt.  It's suitable particularly for those with ill health and mobility problems.

Energy bills online

Managing your account and paying your bills online.

Advantages: You can pay your bill any time of the day or night. It's quick and easy to manage if you're used to using websites. You can view all previous bills and your consumption. Some companies offer discounts for paying online. It's greener as there are no paper bills.

Disadvantages: Required access to a computer.

Who this may suit: PC users. Environmentally aware energy users.