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Our statement on prepayment meters

What are the pros and cons of having a prepayment meter?


The pros The cons
  • You have total control over what you spend.
  • You pay in advance, so there are no surprise bills.
  • Each meter has emergency credit. To activate it in a traditional meter, re-insert your key or card when your credit is low, then press the blue button for electricity or the A button for gas. To see how it works for smart meters, visit
  • Standing charges and debt repayment aren’t taken while you use emergency credit – they’re taken the next time you top up and go back into credit.
  • If you owe us money, you can pay it back through your meter over a length of time that suits you.
  • You might pay slightly more for your energy, because it costs more to provide keys or cards and handle top-ups for PAYG customers.
  • You may have to visit a PayPoint or Payzone shop to buy credit.
  • You’ll still need to pay standing charges (and debt repayments, if you have them) even when you’re not using any energy.
  • Your meter will disconnect if you run out of emergency credit.
  • You’re responsible for keeping credit on your meter and your supply connected.




How does a prepayment meter work?

If you have a standard meter with a boost Traditional plan, you’ll get a card for your gas meter and a key for your electricity meter. You’ll need to take them to specific shops, like a PayPoint, Payzone or the Post Office, and pay to top them up. When you’re home, you insert the key and card into the meters and the credit transfers across, giving your home the energy you’ve paid for.

If you have a smart meter with a Boost Smart PAYG Standard plan, you get a payment card for each meter. You take these cards to a PayPoint and pay to top them up. And you don’t even need to go home and put the cards into your meters. As soon as the credit is in the cards, it’s transferred remotely to the right meter.

If you have a smart meter with a Boost Smart PAYG+ plan, you can still top up your key or card at a PayPoint. Even better, you can also top up online, by text, by phone or in the Boost app. And you don’t top up your meters separately – your money will go to whichever meter needs it. 

If you’re topping up at a PayPoint, you can buy any amount from £5 to £49, and if you’re topping up through the app, online, by text, by phone or by auto top-up, it’s £5 to £99.

Where can I get help?

If your prepayment meter isn’t working properly, please let us know as soon as possible on 0800 408 4722 (8am-8pm, Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm, Saturday). If you have an emergency outside of these hours, call 0800 408 4722 and we’ll tell you what to do.

However, before you call, look at the meter display screen. If anything is wrong, it should show an error code, like ‘battery fail’ or ‘call help’ or another of these error codes – please tell us which one you see when you call. 

If there’s a problem we can’t fix, we might need to exchange your meter. And, if it’s an emergency, we’ll aim to get an engineer out to you within 3 hours on a working day, or 4 hours on a non-working day.

If you can’t put credit on your key or card, make a note of the error code on your PayPoint or Payzone receipt and tell us it when you call.

If you have credit but your key or card won’t top up your meter, try wiping it with a soft, clean cloth. Still not working? We’ll arrange a new key or card for you, either by sending one through the post or for you to pick up from a local shop. 

We can also replace a lost key or card – but that’ll cost you £5.

If the Boost app app or text top-ups aren’t working, just call 0800 408 4722.

If it’s no longer safe for you to use a prepayment meter, we’ll:


When and why would you reset my meter?

We will reset your meter within a reasonable time:

We'll do it by sending a message to your meter through PayPoint or Payzone. And you’ll usually collect the message on your key or card the next time you top up (we'll give you all the instructions you need if this happens).