What is a prepayment meter and how could it affect me during the current pandemic?

A prepayment meter allows you to pay for your energy before you use it. This gives you control over your energy spend – meaning you don’t have to worry about unexpected energy bills.

You use a prepayment key to top up an electricity prepayment meter with credit; and a prepayment card to top up a gas prepayment meter. When you need to add more credit, just take your key/card to your nearest PayzonePayPoint or Post Office outlet. Topping up your electricity or gas meter key can be challenging if you have to self-isolate. Read our advice below to help you if such a time comes. 

Prepayment meter and Coronavirus (COVID-19) - tips for coping

If you’re self-isolating, where possible arrange for a friend/family member to top-up your key or card for you if it is safe to do so. Please be aware that it isn't possible for us to apply credit to your prepayment meter remotely. 

If this is not possible, please contact our dedicated Prepayment line on 0333 200 5110 and our team will support you.

If you’re self-isolating, you may use more energy than normal. Read our energy efficiency advice.

Please keep an eye on your balance and try to stay topped up on credit, as we want to ensure you do not have any short-term supply interruptions. If you can, consider topping up more than you normally would to reduce the risk of running out of credit. You can top up a maximum amount of £49 per transaction on your key or card, and your electricity meter will hold up to £249. Gas meters hold a maximum of £999.

We also operate a friendly, non-disconnection policy on most meters. So if you run out of credit after 6 pm your electricity will not go off until 9 am the next day. This operates from 6 pm to 9 am Monday and Friday, from 6 pm on Saturday and anytime on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, until 9 am the next working day.

Read our FAQs for general Coronavirus (COVID-19) help and advice.

Keep track of your energy use and spend with your prepayment meter

Find out how to top up your electricity or gas pay as you go (prepayment) meter, how to make sure you don't run out of credit, what to do if you lose your top up card and more about prepayment energy tariffs. 

Electricity key top up

Once your prepayment meter has been installed and we’ve sent you your free energy key or card, EDF Energy prepayment couldn’t be easier. See our guide on how to use your prepayment meter.


How it works

Top up your prepayment card or key at a PayPointPayzone outlet or at your nearest Post Office. Remember to keep your receipt as proof of purchase and if it carries a ‘Credit Failed’ message ask the retailer to check why your card or key hasn’t been credited. Depending on where you live, you can top up any amount from £1 to £49 in a single transaction. You can do multiple top-ups to the value of £250.

Once you’ve topped up, put your charged card or key into your prepayment meter. It will only work in your meter and will show you how much money you have left, how much energy you’ve used and what your current meter reading is.

Remember: never buy credit from a door-step seller – it’s illegal.


Where to charge your energy card or key

Always top-up from recognised PayPoint, Payzone outlets or Post Office.  Hand in your card or key and pay for the amount you want to credit. Remember to keep your receipt as proof of purchase and if it carries a ‘Credit Failed’ message ask the retailer to investigate why your card or key hasn’t been credited.

Never purchase credit from a door-step seller – it’s illegal. We are aware of individuals posing as door-step sellers, selling prepayment credit for approximately half the price of the amount of electricity offered. However, this credit is illegal and is not authorised by EDF Energy. Any customer identified as having bought illegal credit will still be liable to their energy company for the full credit value – in effect paying twice, once to the unauthorised salesperson and then the full amount again to the supplier. Only the unauthorised door-step seller will benefit.


If you can’t charge your energy card or key

If you can’t get to a PayPoint, Payzone outlet or Post Office and your meter runs low (listen for the warning bleep sound) you can use emergency credit by putting your card or key into the meter. If you have problems charging your card or key don’t wait until your energy fails – get in touch with us on 0333 200 5110(1). We’re here Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 2pm.


Stay safe

Only use emergency credit if you really have to. If your electricity supply goes off, make sure you switch off all electrical equipment before you recharge your meter. If you run out of credit on your gas supply, switch off all gas appliances and follow the instructions and prompts on your gas meter.


Lost or damaged energy cards or keys

If you lose or damage your electric card or key, simply get in touch with us we’ll replace it free of charge. If you need a second replacement we may charge you.

Why choose a prepayment meter?

EDF Energy prepayment meters help you to manage your energy use and control your spending. Prepayment meters allow you to use energy on a pay as you go basis and can be topped up with a key or card. You can add funds to your prepayment key or card at any PayPoint, Payzone outlet or Post Office.

  • You control how much energy you use and how much you spend – meaning you won’t have to worry about overspending on energy
  • No need to submit any meter readings and you won’t receive any quarterly bills
  • Emergency credit facility gives you peace of mind
  • Pay the same for gas and electricity as our billed customers
  • A great way to pay off outstanding energy bills

A few things you need to remember:

  1. If you leave home for several days, you must remember to charge your key or card, and credit your prepayment meter. This is because your credit is used to pay for a standing daily charge, as well as your daily energy use and any debt repayments. If you don’t charge your meter enough before going away, your credit may run out and any appliances you’ve left on (e.g. freezers) may switch off.
  2. Always use the prepayment key or card supplied by EDF Energy. Using a key or card from a different supplier means you won’t be able to take advantage of our great prices. We also won’t be able to offer you the great tariffs and discounts available to prepayment electricity customers. 
  3. Please only use a PayPointPayzone outlet or Post Office to charge your key or card.
  4. Always decline any offer to buy prepayment credit on your doorstep. There have been reports of fraudulent activity, where prepayment electricity meter customers have been offered discounted top up credit by individuals posing as doorstep sellers. This credit is illegal and is not authorised by EDF Energy. Any customer identified as having bought illegal prepayment credit will still be liable to their energy company for the full credit value – in effect causing them to have to pay twice, once to the unauthorised salesperson and then the full amount again to the supplier.
  5. Make sure to read our energy supply Terms and Conditions before getting started.
  6. As of 1 November, if you’re using a prepayment meter to pay a debt then provided it’s under £500 you can switch energy suppliers and transfer the debt. Remember you will have to carry on using a prepayment meter with your new supplier until your debt is paid off.

How to use your prepayment meter

View or download our handy prepayment meter guide to find out everything you need to know. 

Prepayment meter tariffs

Are you an existing customer?

You can find your prepayment tariff options in Change Tariff in MyAccount (you'll need to sign in to MyAccount, or register first). You can see the current tariff you're on, as well as change to a better one should this option be there. Once you get confirmation that you've changed tariffs, you'll usually get your new tariff prices the first time you top up and insert your key/card into your meter.

New to EDF?

If you're looking to switch to EDF, check our energy tariffs page and choose the best option for you. 

What is the prepayment tariff cap?

The prepayment tariff cap (also known as the 'safeguard tariff') is the highest unit price that any energy company can charge prepayment meter customers. Ofgem sets the tariff cap, and reviews it in April and October each year. If you're on our prepayment Standard (Variable) tariff, your prices might go up or down in line with any change to the prepayment tariff cap.

We'll never increase the price of your fixed-price tariff, but we would reduce it to keep it below the tariff cap if necessary. And, we'll always write to let you know if your prices are going to change.

Want to upgrade to a smart meter?

If you think a smart PAYG meter is right for you and you're an EDF customer. You can is book an appointment to get one installed simply log into MyAccount: (or register first) and go to the ‘Smart' section to book a date and time that suits you.

Supporting our customers

We're continuing to work hard to give our customers the right support when they need it through our Personalised Support Service. 

If you’re worried about bills, struggling to manage your finances, need help with things like reading your meter or you want to make sure you’re not missing out on any extra income, we can provide the support you need.