Prepayment: The Pros and Cons

What are the main advantages of a prepayment meter?

Having a prepayment meter can help you to stay in control of how much you spend by allowing you to pay for your energy usage in advance.

  • We can arrange for a fixed payment amount to be set over a period of time in order to help you repay any debts if you are having difficulty paying and owe us money.
  • Our prepayment meters are set with an emergency credit amount of £5 which will help you if you run out of credit and cannot immediately top up.  Emergency credit must be repaid when you next top up, so it is important to only use this credit in an emergency.
  • By topping up regularly in the summer months, you should be able to build a level of credit whilst your usage is lower.  This will help you during the winter months when usage is usually higher. 

What are the disadvantages of a prepayment meter?

  • You could self-disconnect if you have not topped up your meter and used all your credit, including your emergency credit.
  • If you are planning to go away for a few days, you’ll need to make sure your meter has enough credit to cover any standing charges, any energy used whilst your away (i.e. fridge and freezer) and any debt repayments that need to be made during that time.
  • Prepayment tariff costs are usually higher due to company costs to serve customers via this payment method.
  • You could find it difficult to regularly buy credit if you do not have easy access to a PayPoint outlet.
  • If you have visual 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 to 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
  • We’re unable to agree to 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.

If you have recently had a prepayment meter fitted and would like to review our Prepayment User guide, please click here

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