Prepaid energy top up and Coronavirus. How do you top up your prepaid energy meters? IMPORTANT.

Dear readers I’ve been chasing down all the major energy companies on Twitter and asking them what their emergency provisions are for people unable to go to a shop to top up an energy card or key.

It’s a very important issue because so many of us, myself included are stuck on prepaid meters. If we don’t top up we get cut off and then what are we supposed to do?

Are we expected to just put up with being cut off from everything or is there help out there?

So to find out I started tweeting the major energy companies straight away. It was extremely eye opening to see that so many people didn’t even think about this being a problem. On the other hand many people were concerned and have shared my tweets.

So far these are the responses, the response from British Gas has to be the worst. The best response so far has to be from Bulb Energy. EDF came second in both response time and gave a decent answer to my question.

Listed below are all the responses that I’ve had so far. If I get anymore responses I shall add them to this blog post.


Hi Charlotte, thanks for getting in touch. The current advice from Public Health England for people who are self-isolating is to ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out tasks such as getting groceries, medications or other shopping. These tasks would include the topping up of non-smart prepay energy meters. In circumstances where this is not possible, we have existing measures in place to make sure ]supply will continue in the short term. We are able to preload keys and cards with credit that can be collected by a customer or someone that is helping them from a local shop or alternatively can be delivered in the post. Any credit provided will be collected back at a suitable rate agreed with the customer. We also operate a friendly non disconnection policy on most meters, this means that if a customer runs out of credit after certain hours the electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. The operates between the hours of Monday to Friday 6pm to 9am, Saturday from 6pm, anytime on a Sunday, until 9am Monday, anytime on a bank holiday, until 9am the next day. Many thanks


Hi Charlotte, customers may have enough emergency credit to last while they’re self-isolating at home. If they think they will run out, they should contact us to discuss their circumstances. We will work with them to find a solution. Thanks, Charlie


Hi Charlotte – This is a valid concern, we’ve advised prepay members to top up extra. If that’s not possible due to self-isolation or other potential issues we have a supply of keys/cards preloaded with credit. This is a new situation for us so our policy may evolve with time – M

Hi Lou – The preloaded key/card system comes with credit and is intended to help those who can’t have others top up for them. We’re following latest government policy and advice to ensure our own actions are up to date with developments – M


Hi, you may have enough credit to last you while your self-isolating at home. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution. Thanks, Leanne

Hi Charlotte, we’ll continue to ensure customers get the help and support they need. If you think you’ll run out of credit, contact us to discuss your circumstances and we’ll work with you to find a solution.



11 thoughts on “Prepaid energy top up and Coronavirus. How do you top up your prepaid energy meters? IMPORTANT.”

  1. I’m a British Gas customer I haven’t had any problems so far because I have a smart meter as long as you have WiFi you can top up via the website online and as far as I now they haven’t stopped installing them so if you can try and get an appointment for installation ASAP then you shouldnt have any issues I hope this helps


  2. Ebico are a good shout. I’ve been with them for yrs. Everyone pays the same regardless of whether top up or not. Unsure if they can convert meter from top up to pay as you go though but worth bearing in mind.

    **I have absolutely no connection with ebico other than being a customer.


  3. I messaged British Gas on Sunday about this and got the exact same response word for word, so they have not bothered it appears to try to work out something.


  4. Hi Charlotte, and thanks for highlighting this potential problem. It is something I’ve been wondering about myself too. Personally I have gone out twice in search of toilet paper (unsuccessfully) and each time, as a safety measure, topped up the gas whilst I was out. Luckily I’m financially able to do so at the moment, even though on ESA I live very frugally and keep a little for small emergencies if necessary. This is something I did bring up with my supplier once before (EDF) when I couldn’t get out during the storms and their only answer was to have a smart-meter installed! I wouldn’t expect any help from British Gas as it seems from their recent behaviour – setting a minimum top-up of £5 (since rescinded I understand) and reducing the outlets at which a top-up can be bought etc – they would rather not have pre-pay customers at all and are doing their best to offload them to other suppliers by making things as difficult as possible. Let’s hope enough pressure is put on the suppliers during this crisis for some emergency measures to be put in place.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another potential problem might be the payment of Council Tax, if it’s not paid on time they can fine you and many of us don’t have Direct Debit facilities but pay it in cash installments over the counter at a Pay Point. I pay mine monthly at the local newsagents. I’m ok regarding electricity as I pay for it in cash to my landlady but have to rely on her coming round. And I don’t have gas. I suppose with Council Tax you would have to ring them if you’re going to be late with it then they’ll take the situation into account.

    Liked by 1 person

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