If you were wrongly forced onto a prepayment meter
In February 2023 the organisation which regulates energy companies, Ofgem, asked all energy suppliers to review any recent decisions they made to:
- Force customers onto a prepayment meter
- Remotely switch smart meter customers to prepayment
Ofgem asked energy suppliers to check they followed the rules when switching customers to prepayment.
If your supplier didn’t follow the rules, you might be able to get your:
- Prepayment meter switched to a credit meter.
- Smart meter switched to credit mode.
In some cases, you might be offered compensation. Complain to your supplier if you think you were wrongly switched to prepayment.
If it isn’t safe or practical for you to be on prepayment
Even if you’re in debt, you can ask your supplier to move you off prepayment if it’s not practical or safe for you. It might not be safe or practical for you to be on prepayment if:
- you have an illness or disability that makes it difficult for you to top it up
- you have an illness or disability that would be made worse if you lose power
- you can’t afford to top it up
- you’re pregnant or have children under 5
- you can’t get to your meter
- you can’t get to a shop to buy credit
Your supplier will look at your circumstances, including: if they can help you top up in a different way, if someone else can help you top up, how close you live to a top up point, where your prepayment meter is and how severe your circumstances are.
Your supplier shouldn’t charge you to replace your prepayment meter if it’s not safe or practical for you to use it. They also shouldn’t ask you for a deposit, as this would count as a charge.
If you don’t want to switch to an old-style credit meter or smart meter, your supplier might be able to move your prepayment meter to make it easier to get to. You should ask your supplier about this.
You should ask to be put on your supplier’s priority services register. This will give you extra help with your energy supply.
If you would like help dealing with prepayment meters, the cost of living or any other issue, please contact Citizens Advice to see how we can help.