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What do I need to know about debt on my electricity prepayment meter?

Summary

1) You've used up all your emergency credit; you probably also owe us for any daily standing charge or instalment plan payments you might have missed while you were using emergency credit.
2) You didn't have enough credit on your meter to cover your daily standing charges and/or instalment plan payments; this often happens when people go away on holiday.
3) You used the friendly non-disconnect service on your meter.
 

  • If you see the letter 'e' on your display, you're using your emergency credit, which you will need to pay back. Your meter will automatically take a payment for any emergency credit you've used as soon as you next top up your meter.
  • If your electricity prepayment meter display says ‘DEBT’, you owe us money for one or more of the following reasons:
  • You might also have debt on your meter because you're on a prepayment instalment plan. This debt is not included in the figure you see under the word 'DEBT' on your display. You can see how much you've left to pay on your plan on screen 'S' of your meter.
  • To pay back your debt, just top up your key with credit. As soon as you put the key back in your meter, we'll automatically take a payment for the debt you owe us.
  • If you're struggling with debt, you might like to find out how to cut your energy costs – read our Energy Efficiency Guide. You can also find out if you're eligible for extra support – fill out a quick form to see what help is available.
  • This information is for prepayment meters only; it's not for pay-as-you-go smart meters.

Common questions:

How much debt do I have on my electricity prepayment meter?
How do I pay back the debt on my electricity prepayment meter?
I’ve topped up my prepayment card, but my electricity still hasn’t come on – what's happened?
I've gone into debt while I was away on holiday – how did that happen?
The prepayment meter in my new home shows debt – what do I do?
I have a prepayment instalment plan – how do I reduce my weekly payments?

How much debt do I have on my electricity prepayment meter?

 

There are different ways to see how much debt you have on your meter, depending on the type of debt you have:

Emergency credit

Your meter will tell you how much you owe us for emergency credit, and any missed standing charge or instalment plan payments.

Your screen might keep switching to Display B, which tells you how much you owe. Or it will be flashing, which means you'll need to press the blue button to see how much you owe.

Find out more about emergency credit

'DEBT'

If you've used up all your emergency credit, you'll see the word 'DEBT' appear on your meter. The number below the word 'DEBT' tells you how much you owe us for:

  • the emergency credit you've used
  • any standing charges you've missed while using your emergency credit
  • any instalment plan payments you missed while using your emergency credit
  • any energy you used as part of our friendly non-disconnect service.

You'd also see the word 'DEBT' if you've missed any daily standing charges and/or instalment plan payments because you didn't have enough credit on your meter. The number below the word 'DEBT' will show you how much you owe.

Debt on your instalment plan

Keep pressing the blue button until you get to a screen that says 'S'. This screen tells you how much is left to pay on your instalment plan.

How do I pay back the debt on my electricity prepayment meter?

 

Paying back emergency credit and 'DEBT'

1) Top up your prepayment key with enough credit to cover your debt (you'll need to round up your debt amount to the nearest whole pound).
2) Add on any extra credit you want for your future energy use.
3) Put your key back in your meter; we automatically take a payment from your meter.

Find out more about emergency credit

Paying off your instalment plan

We automatically take a regular amount from your meter each week. So just make sure you've enough credit to cover your weekly instalments and your energy use.

I’ve topped up my prepayment key, but my electricity still hasn’t come on – what's happened?

Emergency credit

 

Did you put enough credit on your meter to pay back your emergency credit, any missed standing charges and instalment payments, and any friendly non-disconnect energy you might have used?

If you didn't, you won't get your electricity supply back until you've paid off these debts. You'll need to top up your meter with more credit.

Find out more about emergency credit

Failed transaction Check your receipt from your last top-up. If it says 'Cancelled' or 'Failed', your transaction didn't complete, and you need to try again.

If the machine where you usually top up isn't working, try another Payzone, PayPoint or Post Office outlet.

Dirty or damaged key

If you think your key might be dirty, give the contact points a clean with a dry toothbrush or cloth; and insert it back into your meter.

If that doesn't work, or you think it's damaged, you might need to get a replacement key. If so, then please fill out this form. We can usually get one to your within five working days.

Click the Chat button on the right to speak to an advisor if you need a new key in a hurry.

I've gone into debt while I was away on holiday – how did that happen?

 

Before going away, you need to put enough credit on your meter to cover:

  • the energy you use while on holiday (e.g. for your fridge, freezer and any electrical appliances left on standby)
  • your daily standing charges
  • any instalment plan payments
  • any emergency debt you owed before going away.

If you didn't put enough credit on your meter to cover these costs, you'll now see the word 'DEBT' on your meter display. This debt figure might also cover the friendly non-disconnect energy you might have used when you first ran out of credit.

We'll automatically take a payment for this debt from your meter as soon as you next top up with credit. You'll only get your energy supply back up and running once you've paid off your debt in full.

The prepayment meter in my new home shows debt – what do I do?

 

Click the Chat button on the right, and one of our online agents will help. Please be near your meter, as we might have to ask you a few questions.

I have a prepayment instalment plan – how do I reduce my weekly payments?

 

You can put in a request to change your weekly prepayment amount by filling out an online form. You'll need to tell us what you're currently paying each week; you'll find this on screen 'T' of your meter.

You can also get in touch with us by clicking the Chat button on the right. We can work with you to arrange a more affordable weekly instalment.

You might also be able to cut your energy costs – please read our Energy Efficiency Guide to find out more.

You can also find out if you're eligible for extra support – just fill out a quick form to see what help is available to you.