We’ve pulled together some tips to help customers using prepayment meters understand more about these meters, how they work, and how and their friends and family could help during the coronavirus situation.
1. ‘Prepayment’ basically means ‘pay before you use’
Prepayment meters can supply your gas and/or electricity and require customers to pay for their energy before they use it. Prepayment accounts are linked to a key or card which can be topped up with credit, just like mobile phone pay-as-you-go SIM cards. Once there’s credit on your key or card, you just slot it into your meter and you will immediately receive energy.
2. All the information you need to know is shown on your meter
Your meter will tell you how much credit is left. There’s more information about how to read your meter here. You should familiarise yourself with how to see how much credit you’ve got left so you know when you next need to top up, though remember that your normal energy usage will increase if you’re spending more time at home. Under current Government guidance you don’t want to leave your house more often than necessary.
3. You can top up at the corner shop…
… the Post Office and the supermarket. Just look out for PayPoint or PayZone signs outside. If you see the sign, you can top up your key or card inside. If you want to find a top up point before leaving the house, just use our store locator.
4. There’s help available if you can’t top up
And to provide greater peace of mind, we’ve also extended emergency credit levels for gas customers with classic prepayment meters to £50, and are looking to take similar steps for electricity customers. Emergency credit is a 'safety net' that ensures you can stay on supply, even if your meter runs out of credit. You'll only have to pay back this credit if you actually use it.
You can access this additional emergency credit by topping up your card or key at the last shop you did this. When you next top up your payment will go towards clearing any emergency credit you’ve used.
5. Someone else can top up on your behalf
If you’re unable to get out to a PayPoint or Payzone yourself then a trusted friend, family member or neighbour can top up your key or card on your behalf. They will need to take your key or card with them. They can use our store locator if they’re not sure where to go and want to avoid going into too many different shops.
6. We can replace a lost card or key
We can arrange to send you a replacement if you lose yours or if it gets broken. You can do this online or by calling 0345 303 3040. We can either post you a new one or arrange so that you can collect one from a shop. You still have emergency credit available that you can use, if needed, while you don’t have a card or key.
For more information that can help customers with prepayment meters during the current situation, click here.