Quarterly bills – paying for gas and electricity - Citizens Advice Northern Ireland
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Quarterly bills – paying for gas and electricity

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

One of the easiest ways to pay your energy bills is through quarterly billing. You receive a bill every three months and pay it by a certain date. Bills may be estimated or based on what energy you've used.

This page explains how quarterly billing works and ways to pay.

Estimated bills

If your bill is estimated, it will be based on your supplier’s guess about how much energy you have used. This is normally based on how much you have used in the past. If your supplier does not have this information, it will base its estimates on the size of your home and how many people occupy the property.

If your bill is estimated, you can usually phone your supplier with your meter readings.If there is a big difference, they will then send you a revised bill.

Ways to pay

There are a number of different ways you can pay your quarterly gas or electricity bill, and a number of different places you can do it. Most energy companies will accept payment by cash, cheque, standing order, credit or debit card, online or by payment cards.

You can usually pay your bill at your bank, by post to your supplier, online on your supplier’s website, over the phone, at a Post Office or at a PayPoint or Payzone outlet. For your nearest outlet call 0845 6020236 for PayPoint or 0845 7660111 for Payzone.

Cash and cheques

You can pay your quarterly bill by cash or cheque through a bank or Post Office or, for cheques, by post. You may have to pay a fee for paying over the counter at a bank or building society. You will not normally be charged if you hold an account at the bank or if your supplier uses the same bank.

If you send a cheque through the post, make sure you leave enough time for postage and processing before the payment deadline. Otherwise, you may be charged a late payment fee.

Paying by cash or cheque is usually more expensive than paying by direct debit. Check whether you'll still be able to get a prompt payment discount when you pay by cash or cheque, if your supplier offers one.

Payment cards

A payment swipe card allows you to pay your energy bills at any PayPoint or Post Office. Payment cards differ between energy suppliers. With some cards you can make flexible payments whenever you want, even before you receive a bill. Others are set for you to make regular payments.

Payment cards can be a good option if you don't want to pay by direct debit and you're looking for a convenient way to make cash payments.

  • You can find your nearest PayPoint outlet on their website at www.paypoint.com.

Debit or credit card over the phone or online

You pay your energy bills over the phone using your debit or credit card. Alternatively, you can pay online using internet banking or your supplier’s own online system. You will find the correct telephone number or website address on your bill.

Standing order

A standing order is a regular payment that you instruct your bank to send. Setting up a standing order means you will never forget to pay your bills, although there needs to be enough money in your account for payments to be made. You will also need to change the standing order for every quarterly payment since each bill will be for a different amount.

To set up a standing order, ask your supplier for their bank details and then contact your own bank to set up the instruction.

Next steps

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