I’ve been struggling to keep up with energy costs and I’m now worried about going off-supply when my prepayment meter runs out. I don’t know how I’m going to keep up with the costs going forward. Can you help?

Contact your supplier

Customers experiencing financial difficulties that may put them at risk of self-disconnection should, in the first instance, contact
their energy supplier.

There are provisions in place to ensure anyone who is on a pre-payment meter and is struggling or rationing energy to get by can stay on supply.

If you have debt on your account which is preventing you from accessing energy when you top up, you can negotiate with your supplier for a smaller percentage of the debt to be deducted. This will mean that you can still access your energy as you pay off the debt.

Those not using a pre-payment meter but who are in debt can also contact their supplier to negotiate an affordable repayment plan.

It is very unlikely that you would be forced to switch to a pre-payment meter if you are not already on one. Ofgem obligates energy suppliers to only use prepayment meters when they are reasonably practical.

Request additional credit

Suppliers are also required to offer credit for prepayment customers in certain circumstances.

If your credit runs low, you can request “Emergency Credit” to use until you are able to top up.

Depending on the time of day or week that you run out of credit, your supply will stay on automatically if it is within “Friendly Credit” hours. Friendly Credit is a feature on prepayment electricity meters which allows customers to keep using electricity, even after they have run out of credit or Emergency Credit during evenings, weekends or on bank holidays.

Additional Support Credit can be requested if you are vulnerable and have no other option.

Any of these credits must be paid back through debt collection on your meter or when you next top up.

Further information

Advice Direct Scotland runs and is the official partner of the Scottish Government for energy advice.

Specialist advisers can help with understanding energy bills, issues with meters, complaints, and disputes, and switching suppliers.

They can offer support if you have had difficulty communicating with your supplier and can help you get through to their team to speak with someone.

The team is available on 0808 196 8660, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or by visiting

Advice Direct also administers the Scottish Government’s Home Heating Support Fund, which is available to those who are struggling with energy costs, or are rationing fuel to get by – regardless of the type of meter or fuel used.

Individuals can apply directly through the website at if they have received money and/or energy advice from an accredited agency.

Alternatively, applications can be made through Advice Direct Scotland, or through an accredited partner organisation.