There’s been a lot of information floating around on energy supply during the coronavirus crisis, so we have put together a short post to help you navigate it all.
One of CREW's main services is our energy cafés, where we offer advice on how to save money on your energy bills and access grants and discount schemes. During the coronavirus crisis, we are unable to hold our physical face-to-face cafés, but we are keen to offer our advice nonetheless! One of the biggest energy issues we have identified is the mighty prepayment meter, which must be physically topped up at a local shop or Post Office.
Generally, one of the most important points to make here is that your energy supply won’t be disrupted during the crisis, and all suppliers and network companies are still working to the same rules and obligations Ofgem have put in place. Secondly, no-one on a standard credit meter, which you pay each month by direct debit or each quarter by cash or cheque, will be cut off during the crisis. That said, if you have a prepayment meter, you may be anxious to hear what help is available if you are unable to leave your house to top up your prepayment card.
If you have a smart prepayment meter
This varies by supplier, but most smart meters can be topped up quickly and easily online or over the phone (Shell Energy, e.on, SSE, British Gas).
If you have a standard prepayment meter
One of the top suggestions from energy providers is that, if you are unable to top up your top-up card because you are self-isolating, you should arrange for a trusted person to take your top-up card to the shop.
If other people are touching the card, remember to wash your hands before and after you handle it. You should also disinfect the card before it’s given to anyone and again when it's been returned. Also, try to avoid direct contact with the person who picks up and drops off the card. You can post it through the letterbox to them, while they wait at least 2 metres away, or you could leave it outside for them in a safe place.
If you or your family need to isolate, you will need at least 14 days’ worth of energy to tide you over. The average household will use around £60 for 14 days at current Ofgem average consumption figures – note these prices were due to change 1st April. Certain suppliers, such as e.on have figures to give you a rough estimate for how much you will need to top up for the full two weeks.
You should tell your supplier straight away if you cannot top up your payment meter. Most suppliers are helping vulnerable households with emergency measures, such as:
The information provided online can be daunting, so if you have any questions about a particular supplier, please send us a message on social media @crewenergyldn or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will also find further information on the following sites: