Problems getting to or topping up your prepayment meter

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you can’t get to or top up your prepayment meter, your supplier should install a credit meter or remotely switch your smart meter to credit mode.

Your supplier should do this if you:

  • are aged 85 or older and live alone

  • are disabled or have a health condition

  • can’t afford to top up and you’re aged 75 or older

  • can’t afford to top up and live with children aged 5 and under

Check how to switch from prepayment to a credit meter.

You can’t get to your prepayment meter

Your supplier has to make sure you can get to your prepayment meter. Tell them if:

  • you can’t reach your meter - for example, it’s above head height

  • you can't get to your meter - for example, it's in a shared cupboard you don’t have a key for

  • your meter is outside or in a separate building

Your supplier should try to move your meter to somewhere you can get to. If they can’t move it, they can:

  • replace it with a standard meter that lets you pay for energy after you use it

  • install a smart meter in prepayment mode

If you can’t top up nearby

Tell your energy supplier if you have a prepayment meter and you can't easily get to a shop to add credit. Tell them if:

  • you live alone and have a health condition or disability

  • you’d have to travel a long way or for a long time

  • it would cost you a lot to get there

  • you’d find the journey difficult, for example, if you find it hard to walk long distances

Your supplier might agree to give you:

  • another way to top up your prepayment meter, for example by text message

  • a smart meter in prepayment mode that you can top up online

  • a credit meter that lets you pay bills monthly or quarterly

Using cash to top up your smart meter

Tell your supplier if you’re using prepayment mode on your smart meter and need to add credit by paying cash.

They should give you a way to top up your smart meter in a shop, for example they might give you a barcode, card or reference number to give to the shop.

The credit should be added to your meter immediately. Keep your receipt as proof in case there is a problem.

You can use cash to top up at a Post Office, Payzone, or any shop with a PayPoint logo.

Search your location to find your nearest Post Office or Payzone on the Payzone website.

Search your postcode to find your nearest PayPoint on the PayPoint website.

You have problems working your meter

Contact your supplier for help if:

  • you don’t know how to work your meter

  • you need a new meter key or card

  • your meter takes tokens - this means it’s out of date and should be replaced

Find out how to contact your supplier about a problem.

Further help

Complain to your supplier if you’ve contacted them and you don’t think their response was reasonable.

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone, online chat or by email.

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