Having a prepayment meter installed at your home, or using one that’s already installed, will allow you to pay for your electricity and/or gas in advance. This document explains the advantages and disadvantages of prepayment meters, how these are used and when we can install one at your home.
What are the advantages of a prepayment meter?
A prepayment meter can help you in managing your energy usage by allowing to pay for your energy in advance and make it easier for you to control how much you spend.
- If you owe us money and are having difficulty in paying, a prepayment meter can help you repay this debt in fixed amounts over a set time-period once an agreement has been made between you and us to do this.
- Prepayment meters are set with an emergency credit facility which will help you in remaining supplied with energy if you run out of credit and can’t immediately top up the level of credit on the meter. However, please note that any emergency credit used must be repaid when you next top up so please make sure that you only use it in an emergency.
- You should be able to build up a level of credit during the summer months when your usage is lower that will help you pay for your higher level of usage during the winter months.
What are the disadvantages of a prepayment meter?
- If you don’t top up your prepayment meter and then use up all your credit (including the emergency credit), the energy supply to your home will self-disconnect until you buy more credit.
- If you’re going to be away from your home for a few days, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough credit on the prepayment meter to cover the standing charges, any energy usage (such as a fridge or freezer) that will take place while you’re away and any debt repayments that need to be made during that time.
- Tariff costs may be higher for customers supplied with energy through a prepayment meter due to the higher costs to serve that this payment method results in for us.
- It may be more difficult for you to regularly buy credit for the prepayment meter if you don’t have easy access to a Payzone outlet.
- If you have sight difficulties or other special needs a prepayment meter may not be suitable for you to use.
- If you lose or damage your prepayment key used for topping up the prepayment meter, you’ll need to ask us to send you a new one. We may at our discretion charge you for the cost of this.
- If you want to change from being supplied through a prepayment meter to being supplied through a credit meter, you’ll need to pay any outstanding balance that you owe us and we’ll need to agree to this change taking place. We may at our discretion charge you for the cost of changing the meter.
When might we install a prepayment meter at your home?
We may install a prepayment meter if:
- You’ve asked that we do this so that you can better manage your energy use by paying for it before you use it; or
- You’ve asked that we do this because we’ve agreed that you can repay any outstanding debt to us this way; or
- You haven’t kept to a debt repayment plan previously agreed between you and us; or
- You’ve asked that we do this rather than pay us a security deposit where we’ve asked that you do so; or
- We’re unable to agree another suitable way in which you can repay any outstanding debt to us.
We won’t charge you for having a prepayment meter installed at your home. However, we may at our discretion charge you for any additional costs we incur in completing the installation, for example, if we need to get a warrant from a magistrate to enter your home to install the prepayment meter.
When a prepayment meter is installed at your home we’ll give you a user guide showing you how to use it. If you have any problems or questions, please contact our customer care team.
How to apply 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 www.payzone.co.uk, or by contacting our customer care team.
When you buy credit at a Payzone outlet, you’ll be given a receipt. 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 care team. We’ll send an engineer to the property within 3 hours of your telling us (or within 4 hours on a weekend or a Bank Holiday) 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 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday or outside the hours of 9am to 5pm on a weekend or Bank Holiday, the 3 or 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
When we agree the regular repayment amount, it’s important that you give us all available details about your individual circumstances, including any benefits that you may be receiving, so that we can agree a suitable repayment amount with you. It’s also important that you tell us if you can afford the regular repayment amount 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 care team. We’ll try to agree 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 organisations listed at the end of this document. They can help you understand how much you can afford to pay and we’ll work together with them to agree 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 care team. Once your meter has been reset we’ll send you an updated statement.
What if our prices change?
If we change our prices for 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 don’t want this price rise to be applied to you, you can switch to another Nabuh Energy tariff or switch to another supplier 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 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 as long as 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 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.
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.
Telephone number: 0330 0414 902
Postal Address: 2 Pinfold St, Floor 9, Sheffield, S1 2GU
We’re available to talk to you from;
Mon-Fri: 9am to 8pm
Sat & Sun: 9am to 5pm. (incl. Bank Holidays)
1-6 Tavistock Square
0800 169 2081
0800 470 8090
Ty John Pathy
13/14 Neptune Court
08000 223 444
Citizens Advice Consumer Service – Energy
03454 04 05 06
The Disabled Living Foundation
0300 999 0004
Ombudsman Services: Energy
PO Box 966
0330 440 1624
Energy Saving Trust
England and Wales
0300 123 1234
0808 808 2282
0808 808 4000