What is a Prepayment meter?

A prepayment meter is a type of energy meter that can be installed in domestic properties. With a prepayment or 'pay as you go' tariff, customers pay for their energy before they use it – usually by adding money to a key or card in store and then adding this credit to the meter directly. See below for everything you need to know about prepayment.

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100% green electricity

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Prepayment tariff

£10 Midcounties Co-op voucher per fuel

Warm Home Discount available *eligibility criteria apply

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You can top up your prepayment key or card when you want, at any PayPoint, Payzone or Post Office outlet, and you decide how much you spend. Managing repayment of debt is also easy, and you can pay back any money you owe over a period of time set to suit you.

  • No need to submit meter readings
  • No surprise bills
  • Emergency credit facility gives you peace of mind
  • A good way to pay off outstanding energy bills
  • Keep track of how much you’re spending on energy
  • Great for household budgeting
  • You can top up in thousands of PayPoint, Payzone or Post Office outlets across the country

Why we're proud to be different

  • Our energy comes with 100% green renewable electricity as standard at no extra cost to you
  • You’ll have your own dedicated Prepayment Team on hand to help
  • Receive an annual statement to see how much you’ve spent on your energy

Extra perks

  • You could receive up to £140 rebate on your energy through our Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • Members also receive lots of other benefits from across the other Midcounties Co-operative trading groups including: Food, Travel, Post Office, Childcare, Healthcare and Funeralcare

Become a member of the Midcounties Co-operative for only £1 and:

  • Become an owner of Co-op Energy
  • Have your say in how our business is run
  • Receive ashare of our profitsevery year
  • Receive member points on your energy spend

So how do prepayment meters work? 

A prepayment meter allows you to pay for your usage as you use it. You do this by adding money to a key or card, which is then inserted into the meter fitted in your home to transfer the credit ready to use. The balance of the meter is then reduced according to the amount of energy you use, the daily standing charge and any debt you may be paying off. When the balance of the meter gets low, you’ll need to apply more credit to maintain energy supply to your property.

Step 1 - Getting started

If you’ve recently joined Co-op Energy, or had a prepayment meter fitted, you will need to activate your key/card by first inserting it into your meter. Once this is done you’re ready to top up. Before you use a new payment device please ensure that you run down all the credit on your meter before inserting your new key/card, otherwise any credit left on your meter will be lost.

If you’ve recently moved into your property and have not already contacted us, please do so as we need to send you a key/card that has the correct settings on it. Any payment device left in your property from the previous occupant will not have the correct details on it and using this may result in you paying more than you should for your energy.

Step 2 - How to top up

Take your key/card to your closest outlet:

You can top up in cash any amount up to £49 per transaction, per fuel. Your meter can hold a maximum value of £249 (gas) and £255 (electricity). You should only ever top up your meter using the key/card that was supplied to you by Co-op Energy. This is important as it ensures that all of the correct settings are on your meter and that your payments reach us.

Step 3 - Adding credit to my meter

  • Gas - Once you’ve topped up your gas card simply insert it into the meter and press the Red Button (A) to transfer your credit to your meter
  • Electricity - Once you’ve topped up your electricity key, just insert it into the meter and wait for 5 seconds. Your credit will automatically transfer

Help with your Prepayment meter

I need a new key/card for my meter

  • If you’ve lost or damaged your prepayment card or key, don’t panic. Call us on 0800 954 0693 and we’ll send out a new one.
  • If it is urgent and it’s your electricity key that needs replacing then we can give you a code that will allow you to pick up a blank key at a local Paypoint vendor so you can top up your meter the same day and continue using electricity until your new card arrives
  • If it’s urgent and it’s your gas card that needs replacing please mention this when you contact us on the number above and we’ll discuss the options with you

Replacing your meter

  • If your meter isn't working, you’re off supply and you call us during the day Monday – Friday, then we’ll get to you within 3 hours
  • If you call us on a Saturday then we will get to you within 4 hours
  • If you have an issue outside of these times we will get to you within 3 hours of our next working day starting. To report a non-emergency issue out of hours please fill in the form here

If you have an emergency, please click here for more help

Prepayment error messages – Gas meter

Below we have highlighted some of the more common meter error messages you may see and what action you should take if you see one. If you need to contact us please make a note of the error message that’s displayed on your meter so that our Advisors can help you more efficiently:

  • Call help - Please contact us on 0800 954 0693
  • Please Wait – Remove the card and try again in 2/3 minutes. If this doesn’t work please contact us on 0800 954 0693
  • Card Fail - Clean the card and try again. If this doesn't work please contact us
  • Card not accepted - Check that you are using the correct card, clean the card and try again. If this doesn't work please contact us on 0800 954 0693
  • Blank Display - Press button A.
  • Battery Low - Please contact us on 0800 954 0693
  • Dashes on the screen - Please contact us on 0800 954 0693

Prepayment error messages – Electricity meter

  • Error D4 - Please contact us on 0800 954 0693, your key needs to be reprogrammed
  • Error 10 – Please give your key a wipe with a clean dry cloth and try again. If this doesn’t work please contact us on 0800 954 0693
  • Blank screen – If the red light is flashing put your key into the meter, this should ‘wake’ your meter up. If the red light isn’t flashing then there is no power to your meter and you should contact your DNO by clicking here.
  • ‘Reset’, ‘token number’ or any other error – please contact us on 0800 954 0693

Other help

  • For other issues with your prepayment meter please call: 0800 954 0693
  • If you smell gas call the 24 hour National Gas Emergency Service: 0800 111 999
  • For any electricity emergency or power cut, please call: 105
  • You can view our prepayment terms and conditions here. You can also see our 'Treating Customers Fairly' statement here.
  • If you would like to discuss changing your prepayment meter for a credit meter please contact us, however please be aware that this may not always be possible and is dependent upon a number of factors. We will discuss these with you when you call.

What if you’re struggling to pay? 

If you’re struggling to pay for either your energy or your charges it’s important to contact us as soon as possible. We’ll do our best to help you find a solution.

If you need any further advice or information on money worries, you may find these organisations helpful:

It's easy to get free, independent advice so that you ‘Know your rights’ as an energy consumer. You might want to get a better deal, find out how to make a complaint, get advice about the quality of your electricity or gas supply, or ask for help if you're struggling to pay your bills. To ‘Know your rights’ visit the Citizens Advice Bureau for up-to-date information or contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

Don't forget

  • It’s important to ensure that your key/card is clean and kept in good working order
  • Your energy supply may be switched off if you do not top up your meter
  • You’ll probably need to buy more credit in the winter months - think about topping up the same amount all year round to budget for this
  • Your meter collects a daily standing charge and any debt repayments. Therefore you must keep enough credit on the meter to pay for it, especially if you’re away or not using much energy in the summer. If there’s not enough credit, your supply will stop