Coronavirus Hardship Scheme

We know these are extremely tough times. The effects of coronavirus are leaving many of us unexpectedly struggling to pay for our energy – and feeling overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve made up to £50 million available to help those members who’ve been impacted the most.

The scheme will support customers across the OVO Group who can’t pay their bills because of the effects of coronavirus (including Boost customers). It allows us to add more emergency credit to people’s energy meters than we normally would – helping those who can’t make ends meet during the crisis. We’ll then work out a manageable plan that allows them to pay it back later, a little bit at a time.

It’s part of our commitment to help everyone we can to keep their lights on during this incredibly difficult time.

FAQs

If you’re struggling to pay for your energy, you have 2 options.

First, you can access Emergency Boost via your app. We’ve increased the amount available from £30 to £50 as part of the scheme.

If you don’t have our app because you’re not a Smart PAYG+ customer, or if you simply need more help, you can call us on 0117 332 3728 or 0330 102 7517 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 9am-1pm). You’ll then speak to one of our agents who will aim to understand the level of support you need. We may also ask you to share some extra information with us.

If your application is successful, we’ll add the agreed amount to your meter. Or, if you don’t have a working smart meter, we’ll add it when you next top up at the shop.

It’ll take around 3 days to process your application, but we’ll make sure you have enough credit to keep you going in the meantime.

Yes, anyone can apply for the scheme. Just as long as you’ve been a customer since 1st March 2020, and you can’t pay for your energy because of the effects of coronavirus. We’ll be using a set of questions and criteria to make sure the right help goes to the right people. Not everyone who applies will be successful. We want to make sure those who need it the most take priority. So please don’t apply unless you really need to.

If you can pay for your energy now but would like advice about managing your energy and finances over the coming months, these organisations all offer brilliant support.

Tully offers online financial and wellbeing support to those impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Citizens Advice offers free and impartial advice.

Step Change is a debt advice charity that can give you free help and advice.

Centre for Sustainable Energy can give you free, tailored advice on saving energy.

Energy Saving Trust has lots of free practical help with cutting your energy use, and bills.

If you’re accepted onto the scheme and you have a working smart meter, we’ll add the agreed amount for you. Or, we’ll make sure you get it automatically when you next top-up at the shop.

This will normally be about 3 days after you’ve given us all this information we need. We’ll let you know how much it’ll be once we’ve processed your application. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you have enough credit to keep you going in the meantime.

We’ll run this scheme until the £50 million has been used. Then we’ll decide what to do next. It’s hard to tell you about future plans now because a lot will depend on the coronavirus situation at that time.

This will depend on the level of support you need. Anyone with Smart PAYG+ can access Emergency Boost in their app where we’ve increased the amount available from £30 to £50.

But if you don’t have Smart PAYG+ or you need a higher level of support, we’ll ask you to give us more information. This will help us prioritise those who need the scheme most.

If you don’t need help paying for your energy, please don’t apply.

We’ve seen the UK come together in a big way recently. For their families, friends, neighbourhoods, for the NHS and for those in need. So we’re relying on this same spirit to help us deliver our scheme to those who need it most. We really believe in the generous nature of our customers. And we’re confident that, together, we can make this happen.

Yes, this section walks you through important information about your repayments. So please read it all carefully before you apply. If your application to the scheme is successful, these terms will apply to the repayment plan we agree with you. You can see the full terms & conditions here. They apply on top of our core terms and conditions here.

Yes, we’ll be asking you to pay it back, a little at a time. But at a later date, when things feel more normal again. We’ll work with you to make sure that our repayment plans are totally fair and manageable, and we won’t be charging interest.

Yes, this isn’t a grant. The scheme works by helping you pay less over a temporary period. You’ll still need to pay the amount credited and your full balance back at a later date (in line with your contract). But we’ll work with you to help make everything feel as manageable as possible.

When life feels more normal again, we’ll work out a manageable repayment plan with you. You’ll pay us back by topping up an agreed amount each week (above the cost of the energy you’re using). This means you’ll pay the debt back gradually. We’ll make sure all this is explained to you if your application to the OVO Coronavirus Hardship Scheme is successful.

Yes, you can pay back the full amount anytime before the payment plan ends.

No, we’re sorry. If you still owe money you’ll have to pay us back before you change supplier. Unless we agree to transfer your debt to your new supplier.

Yes, you’ll have to pay back everything you owe us. Unless we agree to supply you at your new address, which means we can transfer the outstanding amount over with you. We may need to set up a new payment plan for your new address. But we’ll discuss all this with you and make sure that your repayments feel manageable.

If you don’t manage to make a payment to us under the payment plan we’ve agreed, we can take action to recover your debt – in line with your contract. But we won’t want to do this. If you’re struggling to repay, it’s important that you call and tell us. This gives us a chance to understand your situation and check that your repayment plan is still right for you.

Yes, if you’re struggling to meet your agreed repayments in the future, you can ring us on 0117 332 3728 or 0330 102 7517 (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 9am-1pm) to review the terms of your repayment. We may also review the payment plan at regular intervals, and make changes if we need to. But, we’ll let you know before anything changes.

Please support us by only applying for this scheme if you absolutely have to.