Advantages and disadvantages
Prepayment meters can be a useful tool for managing your gas costs. As the name suggests they require you to pay for your gas in advance
(although there are emergency arrangements to allow you to receive gas if the meter or payment card is faulty). With a prepayment meter it
is much easier to avoid building up a debt for your gas.
Of course, having to pay for your gas in advance can also be a disadvantage – if you run out of credit your gas will stop flowing until you top up again.
Charges for gas supplied through prepayment meters can also be more than for gas supplied through other meters. This varies from one gas supplier to another but can restrict your choices when you are looking to switch supplier.
How it works
When a prepayment meter is installed, or if you move into a property where one is already installed, we will arrange for you to receive a
payment card to use for topping up the meter. You take the card to any retail outlet that supports this (there are lots – just look for the payment symbols shown on your card or in the information that accompanies it), make a payment, and then insert the card into your meter. This will update your credit balance.
As you use gas, the meter deducts the charges from your credit balance. You can check your balance on the meter at any time so that you know when to top up again.
We will send you a regular (usually quarterly) statement of your gas account, which will show your payments and the charges that we have made for your gas. This takes account of the actual energy content of the gas that you received (the meter uses an estimated figure) so there can be small variations between your account balance and the balance shown on your meter.
Dealing with faults
If your meter becomes faulty we will arrange for an engineer to visit to repair or replace it, usually within four hours of you reporting the problem to us. If there are problems with your payment card, we will arrange for a replacement to be sent to you by first class post. Just call our Customer Service helpline at any time between 8 am and 8 pm on working days, or between 9 am and 5 pm on any other day.
When there is any change to your gas tariff or to instalments that you are paying using a prepayment meter we will arrange for the meter
to be updated remotely with this information within a reasonable period of time.
If you have a prepayment meter and we become aware that it is no longer safe or practical for you to use it, we will offer either to make
arrangements to resolve this (which may include altering the position of the meter or replacing it with one which has been specially adapted) or to allow you to pay for your gas in another way.
If we agree to remove your prepayment meter, either at your request or to resolve safety or practicality issues, we will schedule an engineer’s visit at a time convenient to you, usually within five to ten working days.