Homeowners will not be disconnected from their electricity or gas supply throughout December and January.
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has announced a moratorium from December 1st 2023 until January 31st 2024 for those who may fall behind on their bills.
There will also be an extended six-month moratorium, from October 1st until the end of next March, for those who are vulnerable.
Vulnerable customers, who are registered as being critically dependent on electrically-powered assistive devices, cannot be disconnected for reasons of non-payment at any time and this protection remains in place.
The CRU said it considered even longer moratoriums; however, it found that it could cause increased levels of debt and a higher risk of disconnection when the moratorium is lifted.
The disconnection moratorium is in addition to customer protections that were announced by the CRU in August for the coming winter, following a review of retail data and feedback from stakeholders.
These include extended repayment periods, reduced debt burden on pay-as-you-go, better value on financial hardship meters and greater promotion of the vulnerable customer register.
CRU Director of Customer Policy and Protection Karen Trant said customers in difficulty should talk to their supplier as early as possible.
"Moratoria on disconnections are vital in providing support and peace of mind to customers during the winter period," she said.
"In addition, the supplier-led Energy Engage Code provides further protection for customers who may have built up debt.
"It is important for customers who find themselves in this position to talk to their supplier at an early stage to find the best solution for them, as customers who engage with their supplier will not be disconnected," she added.