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Should I get a prepayment meter?

A prepayment meter will let you pay-as-you-go for your gas or electricity. You can top up your meter using a key or card, which you can add money to at local shops.

When smart meters become more common, it will also be possible to top up by phone.

Prepayment meters have some benefits. They can:

  • help you budget more effectively, as you decide when to top up and by how much
  • be used to pay off money owed to your energy company.

 There are however downsides as well, such as:

  • they are usually more expensive than standard meters
  • the nearest place you can top up may be far from your home
  • if you don’t have money to add, there won’t be any gas or electricity.

How to get a prepayment meter

If you want a prepayment meter, contact your supplier to find out how. They may charge around £50 to remove the current meter and install a new one. You must have no more than £500 debt on the meter.

If you are a tenant, remember to ask the landlord for permission first.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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