Gas prepayment meters

Gas prepayment meter

A prepayment meter lets you pay for your energy before you use it. It's an excellent way to keep track of how much you're spending. You pay for your energy by topping up a handy wallet sized plastic card at a local charging outlet.

Activating your gas card open/close

Before you buy credit on your new gas card, you'll need to activate it. To activate your card, simply insert it into the meter for at least 30 seconds while it updates your details.

Buying credit open/close

Once you've activated your new key you can buy credit at an outlet and add the credit to your meter.

As an npower gas prepayment customer you can buy credit at PayPoint, Payzone and Post Office outlets. There's a list of your nearest outlets in the letter we sent you with your key. You can also find your nearest outlet here.

To top up your key with credit, take your key to an outlet. The credit you buy will be added to the key. You can buy any amount of credit in whole pounds up to a maximum of £49 per transaction.

Only top up at an authorised outlet and never buy credit from anyone visiting your home or you could end up paying for your gas twice.

Transferring credit to your meter open/close

To transfer your credit onto your meter, simply insert your card into your meter. The display will show the amount of credit on the card. Press Red Button A to transfer the credit to the meter.

If your meter runs out of credit the valve will close for safety reasons so if the meter display is 'OFF' and you've just topped up the meter, the safety valve may need to be opened.

To open the safety value:

  1. Make sure all of your gas appliances are turned off
  2. Insert your card into your meter
  3. Press and hold the red button A
  4. You will then hear a beep, the safety valve will open, the meter display will change to 'ON', your credit will have transferred to the meter and your gas supply will be back on.

Emergency credit open/close

Your prepayment meter has an emergency credit facility that allows you to 'borrow' money from the meter if your credit runs low. Our standard emergency credit value is £7.00 (or £12.00 for Economy 7 meters).

You should only use the emergency credit in an emergency. Any emergency credit that has been 'borrowed' will have to be paid back to the meter along with any debt owed, including standing charges that have built up while you've been using the emergency supply.

To access the emergency credit, insert your card into the meter and press the Red Button A. The meter displays 'Emergency credit in use' to show that it's in emergency credit mode.

Your daily standing charge open/close

Prepayment meters apply a standing charge daily, so it's important you continue to top up your credit to avoid building up any debt - even if you don't use any gas. If you run out of credit the standing charge will continue to be applied and will build up as a debt which you must repay. We therefore recommend that you top up your gas card every week (and insert it into your meter) to avoid a standing charge debt building up on your meter, especially over the summer months when you use less gas. You can find out what your daily standing charge is from your meter display.

Lost or damaged cards open/close

It’s very important that you look after your card as we may charge you for a replacement. If you lose it, don't worry, just give us a call and we'll get you a new one as quickly as possible. We may arrange for you to collect a new card from a local outlet (which may not be the same place where you usually top up your card).

We'll give you a unique reference number and details of your nearest outlet. You'll need to take the reference number to the outlet and they'll give you your new card.

If we can't arrange this for you (depending on where you live) or if you find it difficult to collect your new card from an outlet, we'll send you a new card through the post. Please note this can take up to 3 working days to arrive.

Understanding your meter displays open/close

Your meter has a digital screen with various displays of information. To view the information:

  1. Remove your card from the meter
  2. If the screen is blank, press Red Button A – the words 'for gas' will be displayed
  3. Press and hold red button A until your hear a beep
  4. Release the button – '00' will be displayed
  5. To look at each screen keep pressing button 'A'
  6. Each time you transfer credit to your meter the displays '00' to '03' will show how your meter has distributed the money you've just paid.

    This table details some of the most useful displays. The displays may vary depending on the meter you have.

    Display number What this means
    00 The most recent amount of credit transferred to your meter
    01 Amount of credit that was last allocated to any outstanding debt to your meter
    02 Amount of credit used to repay emergency credit you've used
    03 Amount of credit allocated to your gas supply
    Displays 01, 02 and 03 added together will equal the value shown in 00
    10 Price per unit of gas
    17 Daily standing charge (collected at 2am every day)
    Your card must be inserted into your meter to see the following displays
    25 The minimum debt repayment you'll pay in a week
    26 The maximum debt repayment you'll pay in a week
    27 The amount of debt to be repaid. This will reduce each week if you add enough credit to your meter

Error messages open/close

Sometimes you may see an error message on your meter screen. Here are some of the most common errors and guidance on how to fix them.

Display What this means What you need to do
Call Help There's a problem with your meter that needs investigating Please contact us - we need to arrange for an engineer to visit you
Card Fail There may be dust on the card , or you've put your card in the meter slot the wrong way round Clean the card with a dry cloth and try again
Card not accepted The card isn't accepted by your meter The card isn't accepted by your meter
Blank display Your meter has a screen saver which will make the screen go blank when not in use to save your battery power Press red button A to re-activate the display
Battery low Your battery is running low and will soon need to be replaced You don't need to do anything as a message will be sent to us when you charge your card and an engineer will call to replace your battery in the near future
Dashes appear on the screen Your meter has developed a fault Please contact us - we need to arrange for an engineer to visit you

Collecting debt open/close

If you've had a prepayment meter installed to help you to repay a debt, your debt will be collected from the credit you put onto your meter. The debt will be repaid at a weekly rate agreed with you. If you check the displays on your meter regularly, you'll see the debt amount reducing. Once you've paid the debt in full, your meter will automatically stop collecting the debt.

If you're having difficulty paying your debt and keeping your meter topped up, please contact us as soon as possible and we'll be happy to discuss some options with you.

Moving home open/close

Let's make sure things go smoothly. Your payment key is linked to your account, not your home. So when you move, don't forget to throw your current key away. That way, the new occupier won't use your credit.

Find out more about moving home