The information here sets out some important information about prepayment meters, their main benefits and points for you to think about, and where you can get help with your prepayment meter if you need it.
We install Prepayment Smart Meters for our customers, which offer many more benefits than older ‘non-smart’ prepayment meters. When talking about the advantages and disadvantages of prepayment meters, it is important to be aware when they apply to both, or only one, of the prepayment meter types. We have explained the meter types here, followed by information you might want to know about them.
*This may be subject to change. For example, for Daylight Saving Time (when the clocks change)
*This may be subject to change.
*This may be subject to change. For example, for Daylight Saving Time (when the clocks change).
If you signed up with one of our sales representatives, they would have left you with a Welcome Book which contains important information about our Smart Energy prepayment service, meters and benefits including frequently asked questions. If you signed up online or over the phone, a Welcome Book is sent in the post which usually takes bewtween 2-3 days to arrive.
In depth information about how to use your prepayment smart meters can also be found in our user guide, which is issued to all our customers when we install your meters.
Online prepayment smart meter support:
We need you to tell us about your circumstances so we can ensure a prepayment smart meter will suit your needs. Prepayment meters may not be practical for all customers, including those with priority needs. It is good to establish whether our meters are right for you. Before a prepayment smart meter is installed, we will always establish your individual circumstances and if appropriate, offer an alternative payment method.
In some cases, we can advise on a number of alternative prepayment budget and payment schemes. If you want details of the payment schemes which may available to you, please phone for details on 03303 337 440.
If a prepayment smart meter is not safe or practical for you to use, please call us on 03452 068 777. If you are on our Priority Services Register and have difficulty accessing your meters or topping-up remotely, we may be able to discuss alternative payment options and/or arrange the re-positioning of your meters in some circumstances. For more information on the Priorty Services Register, please click here.
In most cases, restoring your electricity and/or gas supplies is quick and easy and may be avoidable in the first place once you understand how your prepayment smart meters work. Loss of supply can be caused by a number of reasons - so it is important to establish what is causing this before the meter is assumed faulty.
Any loss of supply queries, please refer to your user guide which should answer most queries. If you lose supply out of office hours and wish to speak to a Customer Care Advisor, you can always call our Emergency Line on 03452 068 999 between 8am and 10pm everyday.
If a prepayment smart meter develops a fault, it could result in the loss of supply. If this occurs and we can’t resolve the problem over the phone, we guarantee to visit and put the problem right.
If the meter fault is reported between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, we will attend within 3 hours for electricity and 3 hours for a gas fault. If the meter fault is reported at the weekend or on a bank holiday between 9am and 5pm, we will attend within 4 hours. These are maximum time frames only; we always strive to attend sooner than this where possible.
If you let us know outside these times, and we can't attend the same day, then we will attend before 12pm the following working day, or 1pm on weekends and bank holidays. If we don’t keep our promise to call within the timescales set out above, we will credit your meter with £30 compensation.
If an engineer attends and any information provided relating to the nature of the meter fault is found to be incorrect, then a callout charge may be applicable. If we have to charge for a visit, we will add the debt to your prepayment smart meter, and it will be recovered at 25%* of future top-ups until cleared.
*This may be subject to change.
If your top-up cards are lost or faulty, don’t worry, you can top-up using the unique top-up numbers (printed on the front or back of your cards). We recommend you note these numbers down somewhere safe. The top-up card numbers can be used to top-up online, via our Automated Top-Up Line or manually typed in at PayPoint outlets. If you don’t have your top-up card numbers, you can contact our Customer Care Team, who can provide you with these, on 03452 072 000.
You can order replacement cards for a fee of £6 per card (If they are stolen and you provide a valid crime reference number, this fee will be waived). However, you can also generate a FREE, digital version of your top-up cards which can be scanned at any PayPoint outlet and each one is unique to your meter - we call these top-up cards ‘e-cards’ and they can be generated at www.utilita.co.uk/e-card
For each prepayment smart meter installed in your property, you will be given an electricity and/or gas top-up card with its own unique top-up card number - you can use this number to top-up your energy supplies online or at a PayPoint outlet, with or without the card itself. We recommend you always keep a copy of your top-up card number(s) in a safe place for future reference should you need them. There is a section on the back page of your user guide where you can note these number(s) down.
Whichever payment method you choose, your top-up will be credited to your meters automatically. Each top-up you make has its own unique ‘Top-up Code’ and like a text message, it is this code that is sent and received by your meters.
In most cases top-ups will credit your meters almost immediately but the time top-ups take to arrive can vary depending on phone signal strength in your area. You can also credit your meters manually by typing the unique Top-up Code in to your in-home display or the meters directly - you may choose to do this if it is not convenient to wait for your top-up to arrive automatically, or your phone signal is poor.
You can top-up at any PayPoint outlet with your top-up card or just your top-up card number(s). PayPoint outlets are clearly recognised by their yellow PayPoint logo outside most local shops, supermarkets, service stations and post offices. The minimum top-up at a PayPoint outlet is £2 and the maximum is £45.
NOTE: In the event you mislay your top-up cards or just want to have extras, you can generate FREE ‘e-cards’ which are digital versions of your top-up cards that can be scanned at any PayPoint outlet and each one is unique to your meter. You can either print them out on paper or you can present them on the screen of a smartphone to be scanned in the shop. E-cards can be generated at www.utilita.co.uk/e-card
Automated Top-Up Line:
You can call our 24-hour automated top-up service on 03452 068 333 and top-up using a debit or credit card over the phone. You will also be required to type in your unique top-up card number (displayed on the front or back of your top-up card). The minimum top-up you can make is £5 and the maximum is £50.
You can top-up online at www.utilita.co.uk/top-up - you will need to enter your payment card details and your unique top-up card number (displayed on the front or back of your top-up card). If you are new to our online top-up service, you can register your account and payment details securely, making future online top-ups even quicker. The minimum top-up you can make is £10 and the maximum is £175.
You can download our app that allows you to top-up via your smartphone or tablet (IOS or Android). You will need to register your account details, payment card details and your unique top-up card number(s) (displayed on the front or back of your top-up card). By registering you can securely save all your card details, making future app top-ups even quicker. The minimum top-up you can make is £10 and the maximum £175.
Once you have registered, the app can display your own ‘scannable’ electricity and/or gas barcodes on screen. These barcodes can be presented on your smartphone to PayPoint retailers - the barcodes can be scanned in store to process a top-up.
SMS (Text Message):
You can top-up by sending an SMS/text message*. Before you can use this service you will need to have processed one payment online or via our top-up app in order to register and securely save your debit or credit card details and mobile phone number. The minimum top-up you can make is £10 and the maximum is £175.
*SMS charged at local network rate. One SMS per supply.
You can also top-up via a monthly Pre- Pay Direct Debit and we will send the credit directly to your meter(s) on an agreed date every month. You can set this up by calling our Customer Care Team. Please be aware, if your energy usage exceeds your agreed monthly payment, you will have to top-up the difference either at PayPoint, by text message, online or via our Automated Top-up Line, to avoid losing supply.
For more detailed information about topping-up please visit www.utilita.co.uk/top-up/how-do-i-top-up
A prepayment smart meter can provide a more manageable way to help you repay a debt. You can repay outstanding debt with us, at a recovery rate of 25%* per top-up, in order to clear the debt and maintain your supply as a prepayment customer. If you are experiencing re-payment difficulties, please call our Customer Care Team on 03303 337 440 and we can disucss your circumstances.
*This may be subject to change. For example, if otherwise agreed with the customer.
We send important information updates directly to your prepayment smart meters remotely, for example when there is a change in tariff or a change to Friendly Credit hours to accomodate bank holidays.
Most meter updates will be completed automatically. However, if this is not possible (most likely due to a lack of signal) an update code will be provided on your receipt when you next top-up. This code will need to be manually entered into your smart in-home display or meter, in order to register the update. The top-up code (normally a 20 digit number), will instead be a 40 or 60 digit code and the whole number should be entered into your smart in-home display or meter.
NOTE: Key and card meters may also need to be updated with new tariffs. Key and cards collect any updates when being topped-up at PayPoint outlets then are transferred to the meters when the key or card is inserted.
Where we can make a prior arrangement and provide a time slot for a visit we will, for example when we attend to install your smart meters. Our appointments are divided into two time slots for both, ‘am’ and ‘pm’:
Morning (am): 8-12 or 9-1*
Afternoon (pm): 12-4 & 1-5*
We ask for someone over the age of 18 to remain in the property for the agreed time slot and for the duration of the engineer’s visit. Typically an engineer will take about 1 hour to install your smart meters so if they arrive towrads the end of the 4 hour time slot, someone may be required to be at the property for approximately 5 hours.
If we miss you, we push a card through your door to let you know that we’ve called. We can’t guarantee that we can get back to you on the same day, but if you call our Customer Care Team, we will reschedule the appointment as quickly as possible.
*These times are inline with our new Guaranteed Standards in accordance with new 2016 legislation and will come into effect by the end of February 2016. Previously and up to this time, we have offered up to 5 hour appointments between 8am-1pm & 12-5pm.
An engineer may need to come and fix or fit your new smart meters. On occasion, we may also need to send someone to read or inspect your meters. A sales representative might knock on your door to offer you information about our services. Under extreme circumstances, we may need to send a debt recovery agent to a property for debt recovery purposes.
Each of our representatives will wear a valid photo ID badge, but not necessarily with the Utilita logo on it. This is because in order to deliver the best service possible, we sometimes outsource engineering work or meter readings to external 'Meter Operation Companies'. These representatives will always be trained to meet our high standards of practice, but do not be alarmed if they are not wearing our branded uniform as they are still operating in accordance with our rules, policies and procedures. All comments and complaints should still be directed to our Customer Care Team and will be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
You should always check the identity and business of any person before letting them into your home. All our visiting representatives, or representatives from companies employed by us to carry out work, have an identity card that they will show you without being asked. They will also confirm the exact reason they are calling.
You should check the card thoroughly; it should contain the following information:
NOTE: This ‘Information about Prepayment Meters’ page includes all necessary information in accordance with SLC28.