Prepayment Meters: The User Guide

User Guide

If you have any problems or questions, please contact our customer service team on 0330 0414 902

How to apply your credit to a prepayment meter

You can buy credit for a prepayment meter at any Payzone outlet. You can search for outlets in your area by visiting  https://www.payzone.co.uk/consumers/ or by contacting our customer service team.

You’ll be given a receipt when you buy credit at any Payzone outlet.  We recommend that you keep all receipts as we may ask for copies of these if you ask us to help you with a query.

You must make sure that you use the prepayment key that we give you to buy credit. Not doing this or using another energy supplier’s prepayment key may result in you paying the wrong price for your energy.

If the prepayment meter is faulty

If you believe your prepayment meter is faulty, please contact our customer service team. We’ll send an engineer to the property within 4 hours of you telling us to find out whether we can repair it. If this isn’t possible, we’ll replace it.

If you tell us about this problem outside the hours of 9 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday or outside the hours of 9 am to 5 pm on a weekend or Bank Holiday, the 4-hour timescale will begin from the start of the next day.

If we don’t visit you within the timescales above, we’ll pay you £30 within 10 working days. If we don’t make this payment within 10 working days, we’ll pay you an extra £30 within a further 10 working days. Payments will be made as a credit to your account unless you and we agree otherwise.

If the prepayment meter has run out of credit

If your energy supply has self-disconnected because the prepayment meter has run out of credit, we’ll usually only respond to a request for a visit under exceptional circumstances. We may also at our discretion charge you for the costs we incur as a result of this visit. However, if we agree to do so, we’ll also agree on the level of the charge with you before the visit takes place.

Repaying debt through a Prepayment Meter

It is important that you give us all the available information about your personal circumstances when we agree to the regular payment amount.  All details regarding income, benefits etc will allow us to calculate an affordable repayment plan with you.  It is also important that you tell us if you can afford the regular payments that we suggest.

Once this has been agreed between you and us, we’ll give you a statement providing details of:

  • The date that the prepayment meter was installed at your home; and
  • The total debt amount that you and we have agreed you’ll repay through the prepayment meter; and
  • The regular repayment amount determined by us in accordance with your ability to pay and consideration of your individual circumstances and agreed to by you; and
  • The date on which the debt will be fully repaid if you keep to the repayment plan that we have agreed; and
  • The amount of emergency credit on your meter.

If you have difficulty repaying the debt

If your circumstances change or you can’t afford the agreed regular repayment amount, please contact our customer service team. We’ll always try to agree on a new debt repayment level with you and arrange for the prepayment meter to be adjusted to collect the new agreed regular repayment amount.

If you need impartial advice, you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06 or visit their website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy/

The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you understand how much you can afford to pay and we’ll work together with them to agree on an acceptable regular repayment amount based on the advice that they give us.

Once the debt has been Repaid

Once the debt has been repaid, the prepayment meter will continue to allow you to pay for your energy in advance and you’ll only pay for the energy you use along with the daily standing charge. If your prepayment meter doesn’t automatically reset, please contact our customer service team. Once your meter has been reset, we’ll send you an updated statement.

What if our prices change?

If we change the prices of your tariff, we’ll update the tariff on your prepayment meter. If the change is a price rise, we’ll give you 30 calendar days’ advance notice of this. If you are not happy with the price rise and wish to switch to another Nabuh Energy Tariff or switch to another supplier, you can let us know by telling us (either by phone or in writing) before or on the date the price rise is due to take effect.

If you choose to switch to another supplier, you’ll need to arrange for your new supplier to take over your energy supply within 20 working days of the date on which you told us you wanted to switch. You can then leave Nabuh Energy without the price rise being applied to your account.

As a prepayment customer, if you’re repaying a debt to us of £500 or less and your new supplier agrees that you can repay the debt to it to them rather than to us, we won’t object to your switch. If you want to switch and your debt is more than £500 and we object, you have 30 working days from the date we tell you that we have objected to repay the debt above £500 to bring it to or below that level. Once you’ve done this you can complete the switch without the price rise being applied to your account.

If the change is a price reduction, this will take effect on the date that we tell you it will take effect.

Switching from a Prepayment Meter to a Credit Meter

If you’ve recently moved into a property where a prepayment meter is already installed, we’ll exchange this for a credit meter if you ask us to and if you meet our credit requirements. If you don’t, we may at our discretion ask you to pay a security deposit before we’ll agree to this.

If you’ve lived at your home for more than 6 months after we’ve installed a prepayment meter and the prepayment meter wasn’t installed to help you repay a debt to us, or if you’ve already repaid any outstanding debt to us, we’ll exchange this for a credit meter if you ask us to, provided that you meet our credit requirements. If you don’t, we may at our discretion ask you to pay a security deposit before we’ll agree to this.

We won’t exchange a prepayment meter for a credit meter if the prepayment meter was installed to help you repay a debt to us and that debt hasn’t yet been repaid unless we’re able to agree to repayment by another method which is acceptable to both you and us. Please note that we reserve the right to charge you for our associated costs if we agree to another repayment method and then need to reinstall the prepayment meter later due to you not making the agreed regular repayments.

Emergency Credit

Your prepayment meter features an emergency credit facility. This will provide you with a certain amount of extra credit once any other credit that you have bought for the meter has been used.

We recommend that this is only used as a last resort where you are temporarily unable to buy credit for whatever reason.

If you use all the emergency credit and don’t buy more credit, the prepayment meter will self-disconnect which means that you won’t be supplied with energy until you buy more credit. To reconnect your supply, you’ll need to buy enough credit to cover the amount of the emergency credit used plus at least £1.

Please note that the prepayment meter will continue to take payment for the standing charge and any outstanding debt which you’re currently repaying to us while it’s running on emergency credit.

Changing the location of the prepayment meter

If you have trouble getting to your prepayment meter, we can arrange for an engineer to move it to a different location for you so you can get to it more easily. If you need to have the meter moved a greater distance than we can help with, we’ll put you in touch with your local electricity network operator or gas network operator (as applicable) who will be able to help you with this.

If you are a pensioner, disabled or chronically ill or there is a child under 5 years old in your household we won’t charge you to move the prepayment meter.

If you aren’t eligible to have us do this free of charge, we’ll inform you of this and tell you how much this will cost. You can then decide whether or not you wish to go ahead with having the prepayment meter moved.

Access to the Prepayment Meter

It’s important that we’re able to access the prepayment meter when we need to. For example, we may need to get an exact meter reading, to complete a safety inspection of the meter or to reset or exchange the meter. If you don’t give us access to your home, then we may have to apply for a warrant to gain access. If we have to do this, then we may at our discretion charge you for our costs in relation to this.

Your statement of Account

We’ll send you a statement of account annually or when you ask us to send you one. This will give you details of your energy usage, what payments you’ve made and any debt which may be outstanding.

Energy efficiency advice

The more efficiently you use energy, the more you’ll be able to reduce your bills. We can help you with advice on how to do this.

Please see our policy document “Energy Saving Advice” on our website or call us on 0330 0414 902.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy can also give you independent advice. You can find their contact details at the bottom of this document.

Moving home or switching supplier

If you move out of your home or switch to another supplier, please don’t use the prepayment key that we’ve given you as this may not work correctly with any prepayment meter at the new property.

If you’re moving out of your home, please let us know by contacting our customer care team at least 2 working days before you move out and leave the prepayment key in your home when you go. If you don’t tell us that you’re moving, we may continue to charge you for any energy used at the property until the new occupier tells us that they’ve moved in.

If you switch to another supplier, please use the prepayment key that they will give you once the switch has completed.

If you’ve moved into a property with a prepayment meter installed that we already supply or if you have switched to Nabuh Energy and already have a prepayment meter installed at your home, please contact us immediately. Please also give us the meter reading on any prepayment meter on the date that you move in or become our customer as this will help us to give you accurate statements. If there’s no prepayment key at the property, please contact our customer care team and we’ll send you a new one.

Your final statement

If you switch to another supplier, we’ll send you a final statement based on the final meter read that you give us within 6 weeks of the switch being completed. You must pay any outstanding debt in full before we’ll agree to the switch unless it’s £500 or less and your new supplier has agreed that you can repay that debt to it rather than to us.

Smart meter FAQ part 3

How secure are smart meters?

The smart meter system is very secure and smart meters are not dangerous. Security has been at the heart of the whole smart meter rollout programme from its very inception, and the system has been specifically designed to prevent hacking.

Smart meters do not use the Internet, and they have their own closed, dedicated communications system. Smart meters have been designed with top cybersecurity experts, including the government and GCHQ, to ensure that security best practice has been incorporated at every stage.

What data do smart meters store?

Your smart meter has information about how much gas and electricity you’ve used but doesn’t store other personal information that could identify you, such as your name, address or bank account.

All this information about your energy use is strongly protected. The law, which is explained in the Energy UK Data guide for smart meters, puts strict controls on:

  • your data
  • who can access it
  • how you choose to share it

It’s your data – you choose what you want to do with it and you can change your mind about how much you share, and how often, at any time. So, you can choose:

  • how often your smart meter sends data to your gas and electricity supplier (monthly is minimum, daily or half-hourly are optional)
  • whether to share data about your energy use with other organisations, like switching sites
  • if your supplier can use your meter readings for sales and marketing purposes

 

How is my personal data kept safe when I have a smart meter?

Personal data is secure in the smart meter system. For a start, no details of your name, address or your bank account or any other financial details are stored by your smart meter. The only information stored on it is how much gas and electricity you have been using and what tariff you have chosen.

Any data that is stored belongs to you. No one can have access to that information without your permission. None of your information is transmitted via the internet. Instead, smart meters have their own secure, dedicated communications system that employs technology widely used by, for example, the banking industry.

Can my energy supplier use my data for marketing purposes?

Your supplier will not use any data from your smart meter for sales and marketing purposes unless you've given them permission to do so.

How will a smart meter save me money?

Smart meters make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it.

If you use the information shown on your in-home display to help reduce your energy use, you should be able to cut your energy costs. Smart meters also mean accurate bills, so you can be confident that you're only paying for what you've used, rather than overpaying, as you sometimes do with estimates.

Can a smart meter help me become more energy efficient?

Smart meters are paving the way for a more energy efficient future. They make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it. They're also a crucial step towards the development of the smart grid, a whole new way of running our energy network. Energy suppliers will be better equipped to plan and manage Great Britain's electricity and gas whilst also matching supply and demand.

In the future, we can look forward to being rewarded with cheaper tariffs at off-peak times. This means we will pay less to mow the lawn or run the washing machine when electricity is not in high demand. It will also mean less pressure on the grid at busier times when we’re all rustling up our dinner or putting on the kettle whilst the adverts are on TV.

In addition, smart appliances will be able to interact with smart meter systems to help us save energy. For example, you could set your dishwasher to come on when electricity is cheapest or get a text from your house if you leave the heating on by mistake.

Smart meter queries

Do I need a broadband connection in my home to use a smart meter?

No. Smart meters use an entirely separate, bespoke wireless system. You don’t need Wi-Fi in your home for it to work and it won’t use your Wi-Fi if you have it.

Does having a smart meter make it easier to switch between payment modes (e.g. direct debit or prepay)?

Yes. New smart meters can operate and switch between modes, without an installer having to visit your house and change the meter.

Can I get a smart meter if I have solar panels?

We aren’t currently able to offer a tariff to customers with Solar panels, however, you can get a smart meter if you have solar panels with other providers. Your bills will reflect the energy you are using and that you have generated yourself. Your in-home display will only show how much energy you are buying from your supplier. In the future, your in-home display may also be able to reflect the energy you’re generating yourself, such as from solar panels.

What is the in-home display and what does it do?

Your in-home display is a handheld digital device that sits in your home. This may be called lots of things - like an IHD or smart meter display. It takes information from your smart meter and shows you in near real time how much energy you're using in pounds and pence.

And that’s just for starters. Your in-home display has all sorts of features to help you control your energy use and lower your bills. You can see:

how much energy you’re using in near real-time (it updates at least every 10 seconds for electricity and every half hour for gas) and can show you what it's costing you in pounds and pence (or if you prefer it, kwh or CO2 emissions)

  • how much energy you've used within the last day, week, and month.
  • For smart meters operating in prepay mode, it will also show:
  • how much credit you have left
  • how much you have on your emergency credit balance
  • your debt balance, if you have one
  • a visual or audio alert if your credit’s getting low

In the future, you may even be able to top-up via your in-home display.

Will the in-home display cost me anything to run?

Less than £1 a year in electricity.

Will the in-home display only receive information from my meter?

Yes, your in-home display is paired with your smart meter by your smart meter installer, so it only shows information from your own smart meter. It won’t pick up any information from your neighbours, and you won’t be able to take it and use it in another house.

 

I have an energy monitor. Is that the same as a smart meter?

No. You can buy a whole range of energy monitors that monitor how much electricity you're using, but they can't measure gas or send data about your energy use to your energy supplier.

Only a smart meter can: 

  • get you accurate bills from your energy supplier – no more estimates
  • show you what you’re spending in pounds and pence in near real-time
  • make manual meter readings a thing of the past

 

Will I still be sent energy statements?

Yes. Your in-home display is for information only. You will still receive regular energy bills in the same way you do now, whether that's in the post or online, but now they'll be accurate, without you having to submit a manual meter reading. Depending on your energy supplier, you may also receive some energy efficiency advice.

What are the standards that smart meters have to meet?

Smart meters are covered by strict UK and EU product safety laws. These ensure that smart meters all have the same high quality and safety standards, regardless of your energy supplier.

Could a smart meter impact my health?

Public Health England sees no risk or dangers to health from smart meters. The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes and exceed every UK and EU safety standard.

What health and safety tests have been carried out on smart meters?

The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes in the world and exceed every UK and EU safety standard. Public Health England, the government's agency on public health, has said that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well within guideline levels, and is many times lower than the exposure from wifi and mobile phones.

What different components are there in the smart meter system?

When your energy supplier(s) fits your smart meter, you’ll get the following bits of kit:

  1. Smart gas and electricity meters – these replace your traditional meters. Depending on your supplier, your gas and electricity meters may be replaced at different times.
  2. An in-home display – a handheld digital device that sits in your home and allows you to see how much energy you are using as well as how much it's costing you in pounds and pence, in near real time. This may be called lots of things - like an IHD or smart meter display.

These all come at no extra cost and are fitted by a trained installer.

Where are smart meters manufactured?

Some of the components for smart meters will be manufactured abroad, but factories in the UK are likely to be doing the final assembly and technical configuration of the millions of meters that will be needed for the rollout.

 

We do have dedicated Smart Meter tariffs, why not see you can save money - get your free quote here.

Don't have a Smart Meter but interested? Sign up here and we will contact you when we are rolling out in your area

What are Smart Meters? -FAQ

By now, you’ve probably heard all about Smart Meters, you may even have one! But there is plenty of information around which we have decided to drag together into one place.

Read on to find out the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding Smart Meters.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters. They are being installed in homes across Great Britain at no extra cost, to replace the traditional meters, including prepay key meters.

What do smart meters do?

A smart meter sends automatic meter readings directly and securely to your energy supplier, resulting in accurate bills, an end to estimates and manual meter readings. The accompanying in-home display is a handheld digital device, that sits in your home and allows you to see how much energy you're using and what it's costing you in pounds and pence in near real time. This may be called lots of things, like an IHD or smart meter display. Both your smart meter and in-home display will be installed by your energy supplier at no extra cost.

How do smart meters work?

Your smart meter measures how much gas and electricity you use and securely shares this directly with your energy supplier and your in-home display (the bit you'll use).

You won't have to take any meter readings manually – your smart meter will send automatic readings to your energy supplier via a secure national network which is solely for smart meters. This works in the same way as other wireless systems like car remote keys or TVs, using radio waves. Though it is a wireless system, you don’t need Wi-Fi in your home for it to work. And it won’t use your Wi-Fi if you do have it.

Do I need one smart meter for gas and another for electricity?

Yes, both meters will be replaced.

If you're a dual-fuel customer, your supplier will aim to install both meters on the same visit to make things as easy as possible. You will only need one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage.

If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you will have two separate smart meter installations (one from each of your suppliers).

Do I have a smart meter?

As part of the smart meter rollout, smart meters must comply with technical specifications that will enable you to switch energy supplier. However, if your meters were installed several years ago, they may be early smart-type meters and may not meet these specifications.

Please check with your energy supplier to see if your meters comply with "Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications" (SMETS). If they do not meet these standards, then you'll be able to ask your supplier for more information about how you can get your smart meters installed.

Alternatively, if you have a gadget at home that helps monitor how much electricity you're using, this could be an energy monitor.

How accurate are smart meters?

Smart meters are as accurate as traditional meters. Energy suppliers receive very few complaints about them.

By law, all smart meters have to be certified by the Office for Product Safety & Standards to prove their accuracy, but if you do think there's a fault, you can report it to your energy supplier in the same way you do now.

What are the benefits for me?

There are plenty of gadgets that can help control energy use, but smart meters have two unique features:

  • they show exactly how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing, in near-real time
  • they send accurate meter readings to your energy supplier, so no more estimated bills or manual meter readings

With your smart meter, you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using in near real time, and what it costs in pounds and pence. This means you can be confident that you're only paying for what you have actually used and you'll always know what to expect in your next bill, so no more nasty surprises.

What are the benefits for everyone?

Smart meters are a vital upgrade to Great Britain’s energy system. The way we measure and pay for gas and electricity hasn't kept up to speed with improvements across almost every other area of our lives. Smart meters will enable a more efficient, greener, smarter energy system and lay the foundations for smart grids, which are a whole new way of running our energy networks.

What if I have a prepay meter?

Smart meters will make prepay as easy as pay-as-you-go on your mobile. If you choose smart prepay, you should be able to:

  • conveniently see how much credit you have left on your in-home display, without having to manually read or access the meter
  • top-up when and where you want to - online, with an app, or on the telephone.
  • top-up in person at your local store/outlet, without any need to put a key or card back into a meter. Payments will automatically be added to your account. You will always be able to top-up with cash

I'm on prepay and access to my meter is not always easy. Can smart meters help?

Yes. With a smart meter, you don't need a different kind of meter for prepaying. With a smart meter in prepay mode, you'll no longer need to access your meter. You'll be able to see how much credit you have left via your in-home display and top-up in a number of ways, including online, via an app or telephone. And you can still top up in person at a local shop/outlet. Credit will be automatically added to your account without any need to put a key or card back into your meter.

Can I get a smart meter if I am on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff?

Many suppliers who offer Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs are also currently offering compatible smart meters, but others haven’t started to do so yet. All suppliers will be able to support your current Economy 7 and 10 set up once they start rolling out the second generation of smart meters (due in coming months). We do not currently support Economy 10 meters

Keep an eye out for further blogs covering Smart Meters and the questions we are often asked regarding them.

 If you are interested in having a Smart Meter – why not submit your interest here and we’ll contact you when we are fitting Smart Meters in your area.

Standing Charges

Let’s talk about Standing Charges…

 

Q. What is a standing charge?

A. Energy bills/statements are just like telephone bills/statements, as with phone bills, you are billed for the line rental and specific calls on top. With energy, it is essentially the same with standing charges being the cost of having a gas and/or electricity supply – then usage on top.

This means the standing charge is the fee you pay to have us supply your energy.

 

Q. Why would I pay a standing charge if I don't have to? 

A. Without a standing charge, you would end up paying more than you must for each unit of energy you use.

This means, if you have a high standing charge, you may pay less for usages and visa versa.

 

Q. Do switching sites help me find the cheapest tariff? We always advise our customers and others to be careful and to check details carefully when using comparison sites. You may find that many only ask for your monthly usage and receive a quote based on you using this amount every month and the estimate you receive in comparison to your actual costs may differ.

A. We always recommend checking and comparing your standing charge and usage charge. Also, check the companies (like us) that aren’t available through switching sites, you’ll often find many amazing and possibly better deals.

 

Q. Why are standing charges always within the small print and sometimes hidden?

A. We never hide our standing charges, nor do we try to hide them. We always stay within the regulated limitation and will only recommend our tariffs if they are beneficial to you.  We are happy to discuss all our tariffs with you. 

Please contact customerservice@nabuhenergy.co.uk for any further information you may need.