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What do I need to know about owing money on my gas prepayment meter?

 

Summary

  • You might have debt on your meter for one of three reasons:
    • you've used some or all of your emergency credit
    • you've missed one or more daily standing charge or instalment plan payments
    • you're on a prepayment instalment plan.
  • Your meter will tell you how much you owe – make sure you know how and when to pay back your debt, so you don't fall into more debt.
  • You also need to keep your meter topped up with credit at all times – even when you're not using gas, for example, during the summer. People often get into debt because they forget about the daily standing charges you pay throughout the year.
  • If you're on a prepayment instalment plan, remember to top up your meter at least once a week. A prepayment meter can't take your latest instalment from the credit that's already on you meter; you need to top up to 'tell' your meter to take your instalment plan payment.
  • 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 gas prepayment meter?
  • How do I pay back the debt on my gas prepayment meter?
  • I’ve topped up my prepayment card, but my gas still hasn’t come on – what do I do?
  • I went into debt while I was away on holiday – how did that happen?
  • I went into debt when I wasn't even using my gas – 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 payment amounts?
  • Why did you take two instalment plan payments from my gas prepayment meter this week?

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

'EMER IN USE'

When you see the words 'EMER IN USE' on your meter display, you're using your emergency credit. The display tells you how much emergency credit you have left.

You'll automatically pay back some, or all, of your emergency credit when you next top up your meter.

To find out how much you owe:

  • With your card in the meter, press and hold the red button until the main display comes on.
  • Press the red button again to see a screen that says 'OWED'.
  • Look at the figure on the screen – this is what you owe for the emergency credit you've used, as well as for any standing charge or instalment plan payments missed while using your emergency credit.

Find out more about emergency credit

Instalment plan debt

With your card in the meter, press and hold the red button to get to screen 27 – this tells you how much debt you've left to pay on your instalment plan.

If this doesn't work (not all meters let you take this shortcut), take your card out of the meter. Then:

  1. Press and hold the red button until you hear a beep.
  2. Keep pressing the red button until you get to screen 23, which tells you to insert your card.
  3. Insert your card, then press the red button until you get to screen 27.

You won't be able to view your total debt if you see the words 'EMER IN USE' on your meter display – you'll need to pay back your emergency credit first.

How do I pay back emergency credit?

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

Paying back your emergency credit in full

If you put enough credit on your card, we'll automatically take a payment for:

  • the emergency credit you've used
  • any standing charges or instalment plan payments you've missed while using your emergency credit.

Any credit left after that pays for your ongoing energy use.

Paying back your emergency credit in stages

If you don't put enough credit on your card to pay back all your emergency credit, as well as all the missed standing charges and instalment plan payments, here's what happens.

As soon as you top up your card and put it back into your meter:

  • we automatically take 70% of your credit to pay for your debt
  • you keep the other 30% of credit for your on-going energy use.

The same thing happens until you've paid back all your emergency credit debts.

Paying off your instalment plan

Here are three simple rules to follow to keep your instalment plan on track:

  1. Remember to top up your meter at least once a week – this is how you 'tell' your meter to take your latest instalment payment. It can't take a payment if you don't top up, even if you've enough credit on your meter.
  2. Always top up by more than your instalment amount – you need to do this because your meter only ever takes 70% of your top-up for your instalment payment, and leaves the other 30% for your ongoing gas use.
  3. Get in touch with us if you don't understand your instalment plan payments – just click on the Chat button on the right.

I’ve topped up my prepayment card, but my gas still hasn’t come on – what do I do?

Gas meter says 'OFF'

If your gas meter says 'OFF', follow these steps to turn it back on:

  1. Insert your card in your meter, making sure you're in credit.
  2. Once you've turned off all your gas appliances, press the red button on your meter.
  3. Your meter should now say 'HOLD for gas': press and hold the red button for about 10 seconds.
  4. Your meter should now say 'Release for gas': let go of the button, and your gas should be back on.

If that doesn't work, click the Chat button on the right, and one of our Chat agents will help. Please be near your meter as we might have to ask you a few questions.

Failed transaction

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

If the machine at your usual top-up place isn't working, try another PayzonePayPoint or Post Office outlet.

Dirty or damaged card

If you think your card might be dirty, wipe the electronic strip with a clean dry cloth; and put your card back into your meter.

If that doesn't work, or if you think it's damaged, you might need to get a replacement card – fill out the form. We can usually get it to you within five working days.

Please click the Chat button on the right to speak to an advisor if you need a new card in a hurry.

I went into debt while I was away on holiday – how did that happen?

Did you have enough credit on your meter to cover your daily standing charges? You pay these from the credit on your meter even when you're not using gas. If you run out of credit when you're away, you'll go into debt.

Are you on an instalment plan? If you were away for more than a week, you'll have gone into debt because you've missed your weekly instalment payments. You have to top up your meter at least oncea week to tell your meter to take your instalment payment, even if you have credit on your meter.

I went into debt when I wasn't even using my gas – how did that happen?

Have you remembered you need to keep your meter topped up to pay for your daily standing charges– even if you're not using your gas?

Or if you're on a prepayment instalment plan, have you remembered you need to top up your meter each week (even when you have credit on your meter)?

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 payment amounts?

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 26 of your meter.

You can also get in touch 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 – 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.

Why did you take two instalment plan payments from my gas prepayment meter this week?

An 'instalment plan week' runs from Wednesday (2am) to the following Wednesday (1.59am). We'll only take one instalment payment from your meter during this period.

However, you could find that two payments are taken from your meter during a calendar week (Monday to Sunday), depending on when you top up with credit.

If you'd like to know more, just get in touch by clicking on the Chat button on the right.