What is a prepayment meter?
With a pre-payment meter you have to pay for your electricity or
gas before you use it.
How do I pay for my gas or electricity?
Your gas or electricity company will issue you with a
token and give you a list of places where you can top it
up with money. Newsagents and post offices often provide this
Do I have to have a pre-payment meter for my gas or
If you are behind with your gas or electricity bills, your
energy supplier may fit a pre-payment meter in your home instead of
cutting off your supply.
However, if you are keeping to a payment agreement to gradually
pay off your debts, you do not have to have a pre-payment meter
Can I ask to have a pre-payment meter installed to pay
for my gas or electricity?
Yes. However, you may have to wait until one is available for
Are pre-payment meters a good idea?
A pre-payment meter may be offered to you instead of having your
electricity or gas cut off.
Pre-payment meters can:
• Help you gradually pay off any money you
owe and pay for your electricity and standing charges at the same
• Help you manage your money if you are on
a low income
What are the drawbacks of a pre-payment
Pre-payment meters have some drawbacks, including:
• You won't have any gas or electricity if
you do not keep your meter topped up with money
• Places to top up your meter may not be
nearby and may cost you money to get there
• Some meters are not updated straight
away if the cost of gas or electricity goes up. This means you may
build up more debt
without meaning to
Historically pre-payment meters have meant that the cost of gas
or electricity has been more expensive compared to using a credit
meter. However in recent years utility companies have bowed to
pressure from campaign groups to ensure the cost is comparable to
the cost of paying for your gas or electricity through a monthly or
The National Housing Federation article explains more.
Someone's given me some tokens for my meter, can I use
No. Only use tokens provided by your supplier or from a retailer
recommended by your supplier. If you use someone else's token you
could pay more for your gas or electricity than you need
For the same reason, never buy tokens from car boot sales or
I'm worried about how to pay for my gas and
Visit our 'Affordable warmth' page for more advice and