A prepayment meter is a special type of energy meter that can be installed in domestic properties. With a prepayment, or ‘pay as you go’ tariff, you pay for your energy before you use it – usually by adding money to a ‘key’ or smart card, which is then inserted into the meter.
Energy is then credited to your account, and your meter will then use this credit until it runs out – the more energy you use, the quicker your credit will run down.
Historically, prepayment meters have had a reputation for literally leaving users ‘in the dark’, but most modern meters are fitted with an ’emergency credit’ function, which offers a set amount of credit to give you extra time to top up, should you run out of pre-paid credit.
Your meter may also have a ‘no disconnect’ mode to ensure your meter won’t cut out at times you can’t physically add more credit, such as late at night when the local PayPoint, Payzone and Post Office outlets are closed, even if you’ve used the ’emergency credit’ feature.
Alternatively, your supplier may offer 24-hour tops ups, via text, app, telephone or online.