Prepay and Pay As You Go (PAYG) Meters
Prepay or PAYG meters are an alternative to credit meters. Find out how they work and if they are suitable for your needs.
Electricity and gas meters
All homes have meters installed to measure the amount of electricity and gas used.
There are two types of meters available.
- Credit meters
- Prepay or Pay As You Go meters
Most electricity and gas customers have a credit meter. These meters are read or estimated so your energy supplier can bill you for your use. Customers on credit meters tend to receive a bill every two months for the electricity and gas they used within the previous two months.
Prepay or Pay As You Go (PAYG) meters
You can request to have a prepay meter installed in your home. Unlike a credit meter, with a prepay meter you pay for electricity or gas before you use it by topping your account or card up. There are many ways to top up your account. You can choose between online, in certain shops and by text.
You don't get any bills. Instead of a bill your energy supplier will provide you with a PAYG statement. They may send them a couple of times a year, depending on your supplier.
Prepay meters can help you budget and manage your money.
- You pay your energy costs upfront.
- You avoid large, unexpected bills.
Some prepay meters may have extra charges. You should review the charges when thinking about switching to a prepay meter.
There are two types of PrePay/PAYG meters.
- Those which are owned by the network companies and generally installed for customers who are in financial difficulty (financial hardship PAYG meters). There will only be one meter of record.
- Those that are owned by suppliers and installed for customers who prefer PrePay/PAYG meters (lifestyle choice PAYG meters). These customers will have two meters; the main meter of record which is owned by the network company (generally located outside the house) and a second meter inside the property. This means that if there is any dispute, the networks meter is the one used to calculate your usage. Your supplier has a responsibility to ensure that any difference between the networks meter and the PAYG meter is identified early and highlighted to you.
When prepay meters are not suitable
If customers cannot keep the prepay meter topped up it may disconnect. Because of this, PAYG meters are not suitable for customers who:
- are medically vulnerable
- may have issues topping up their meter.
Find out more about vulnerable customers and the protections CRU has in place for them with suppliers.