Electricity prepayment meters

Our prepayment price change

Electricity and gas prepayment prices changed on 1 October 2018. View prepayment price change details.

Electricity 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 and can help you budget for your energy bills.

Activating your electricity payment key open/close

Before you buy credit on your new key, you’ll need to activate it. Just insert it into your meter for at least 30 seconds and it’ll update your details.

Topping up open/close

Once you’ve activated your new key you can buy credit at a Paypoint, Payzone or Post Office outlet and add it to your meter. You can buy up to £49 credit at a time.

How to top up your credit

Transferring credit to your meter open/close

To transfer your credit onto your meter, simply insert your key into your meter. The screen will briefly show the amount of credit on the key. To ensure your credit is transferred onto your meter successfully, we recommend you leave the key inserted for at least 5 seconds.

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 amount is £7.00 (or £12.00 for Economy 7 meters).

You should only use this in an emergency. You’ll have to pay any emergency credit you borrow back to the meter, along with any debt owed - including standing charges that may have built up while you’ve been using the emergency supply.

To use the emergency credit, just put your key into the meter when your credit is below £1.00. The meter will then display an ‘E’ to show that it’s on emergency credit.

What your meter will display:

Display number What this means
A or 1 How much you have left before your emergency supply runs out, eg. £4.50E - the ‘E’ means emergency credit mode.
B or 2 How much you need to put onto your meter to get it back to normal, eg. £7.00

Your daily standing charge open/close

Prepayment meters apply a standing charge each day, so it’s important you keep topping up your credit to avoid building up any debt – even if you don’t actually use any electricity. If you run out of credit the standing charge will keep building up as a debt which you must repay in full next time you top up. You can find out how much your daily standing charge is from your meter display.

Lost or damaged your key? open/close

Don’t worry, just give us a call and we’ll get you a new one as soon as possible. It’s usually quicker to pick up your new key from a local outlet - this might not be the same place you usually top up your credit.

We’ll give you a reference number to write down and take with you, so make sure you have a pen and paper handy when you call.

If we can’t arrange this for you (depending on where you live) or if it’s difficult to collect it yourself, we’ll post it to you. Please note this can take up to 3 working days to arrive.

Understanding your meter displays open/close

You can switch through each of the displays on your meter by pressing the blue button on the front. Each display has a letter or number, depending on what type of meter you have.

Displays when you have credit on your meter:

Display number What this shows
A or 1 How much credit you have on your meter, eg. £4.50.
888.888 This is a test display only to be used by an engineer.
E or 3 How much credit has been put on your meter since it was last reset by an engineer.
F or 4 How much standing charge and debt (if applicable) your meter will collect each week.
G The total number of units recorded by your meter since it was manufactured.
H or 5 Your meter reading.
I or 6 Your price per unit of electricity.
To see the following display, your key will need to be in your meter.
R or 7 How much emergency credit your meter will let you have, if you need it.

Economy 7 displays

Here are some other displays you’ll see if you have an Economy 7 meter:

Economy 7 is a special tariff with two different unit rates (a day rate and a cheaper night rate), usually used by people with night storage heaters.

Display number What this means
C The time and current rate you’re being charged. Eg. at 2pm it will show you the day rate, and at 2am it will show you the night rate.
D The date and current rate you’re being charged.
H or 5 Your meter reading for your day usage.
I or 6 Your price per unit for your day rate.
J Your meter reading for your night usage.
K Your price per unit for your night rate.

Error messages open/close

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

Collecting debt open/close

If you’ve had a prepayment meter put in to help you to repay a debt, it'll be collected from the credit you put onto your meter - at a weekly rate we’ve agreed with you. If you check the displays on your meter regularly, you’ll see the debt amount going down. Once it’s all paid off, 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

Your payment key is linked to your account, not your home. So when you move, you should throw out the key for your old home to make sure the new occupier doesn’t use your credit. You’ll get a new key for your new home.

Find out more about moving home