Forced Installation of Pre-payment Meters – What You Need to Know

Ofgem, the energy regulator, have announced that some companies can resume force-fitting prepayment meters for those in debt.

The companies allowed to start this are Scottish Power, EDF and Octopus Energy. Octopus have confirmed they have no immediate plans to resume forced installations.

These companies must follow strict rules from Ofgem before they can progress with prepayment meter installations. This means they need to make at least 10 attempts to contact the customer, and must carry out a site welfare visit before installing a meter.

Ofgem have also made it clear that for some groups of people, they must not install a prepayment meter. This includes:

  • Those aged over 75 without support in the household
  • Households with children under the age of 2
  • Households with someone with a terminal illness, or certain conditions which would get worse in a cold house
  • Households which require a continuous supply for health reasons, including dependence on powered medical equipment

Ofgem has also made it clear to companies that they take into consideration whether the following criteria apply, to ensure that having a prepayment meter would be safe and reasonably practical:

  • Children under 5 and people over 75
  • Other serious medical or health conditions
  • Serious mental or developmental health conditions
  • Temporary situations

If a meter is installed inappropriately, the company can face enforcement action and fines. They must also refit a standard meter within 24 hours and pay compensation.

If they do install a prepayment meter, they must contact you to re-assess once the debt has been paid.

If they do install a prepayment meter, or carry out a site welfare check ahead of pre-prepayment meter installation, the lead supplier representative must be wearing an audio or body camera, and this footage will be available for audit.

If you do find that you are struggling to pay your bills, or that you’ve been threatened with a prepayment meter, please do seek advice. Our energy team are here to help you.

You can get advice from our energy team by calling 01482 328 990 and asking for the energy team, or completing our referral form here: