Coronavirus information and advice for customers
Last updated: 4.30pm, 30 March 2020
The coronavirus is affecting everyone and we’re working hard to keep you and our staff safe.
All our teams have been switched to remote working to make sure we can still provide exceptional support where needed. We’re running a reduced phone service while we work remotely. There may be longer waiting times than usual so please bear with us. We will do everything we can to help.
How to contact us during the outbreak
As the situation changes daily, we understand that many of you have questions about your energy supply.
So that we can keep our phone lines free for our most vulnerable customers and emergencies, please use your online account or mobile app when possible. You can use it to submit meter readings, view your bills and payments and check your tariff information.
For non-urgent questions, use our Help Centre to find answers and advice. If you can’t find the answer to your question you can:
We are busier than normal but please rest assured we will respond to you as soon as we can. We’re working hard to support everyone throughout this worrying time.
If you have a prepayment meter
If you need to self-isolate or feel unwell, here are some tips to make sure your energy supply isn’t affected:
- Try to top up your electricity key or gas card with more credit than normal – you can top up a maximum of £49 at a time and your meter can hold £255 for electricity and £249 for gas
- Contact your nearest friends and family who could top up your key or card on your behalf – remember to clean and disinfect your key or card with a damp cloth to help prevent passing on the virus (never soak your key or card in liquid as it could damage it)
- If your meters outside and it is safe to do so, leave your meter box unlocked – that way someone can top up and apply the credit for you
If you’re unable to top up because you are unwell or self-isolating, please contact us straight away on 0800 520 0202 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6.30pm). There may be longer waiting times than usual, but rest assured we’ll work hard to help you.
The government has put emergency measures in place to protect vulnerable customers on prepayment meters. We may be able to help by:
- sending someone to top up your prepayment card or key
- adding funds to your meter credit
- having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post
What if my local top-up shop closes?
Currently, most of the outlets including Paypoint and Payzone shops are open as normal. But if your local top-up shop closes, visit Paypoint.com or Payzone.co.uk for a list of alternative shops to top up from.
If you have a normal credit meter
Please continue to pay your bill by your usual method, whether that’s by monthly Direct Debit or on receipt of bill.
The government has announced that no customer on a credit meter can be disconnected during this time.
If you’re worried about keeping up with your energy payments, please read our FAQs below.
If you need extra support
Our Priority Services Register (PSR) offers free support to people who may need extra help in managing their energy supply.
You can apply for the PSR, or a family member or carer can apply on your behalf if you:
- are aged 60 or over
- are disabled or have a long-term illness
- live with children under the age of 5
- have experienced a life-changing event, such as a bereavement or operation
If you believe your situation has changed because of the coronavirus outbreak and you need extra support, please register by filling out our online contact form.
Will my energy supply be affected because of the coronavirus outbreak?
No, your energy supply won’t be disrupted. The Network Operators have over 36,000 key workers busy keeping your lights switched on, and they have well-established contingency plans.
We are also working closely with Ofgem (the energy regulator) and are following government guidance to ensure your supply is protected.
What should I do if I have an energy emergency? (Power cuts, gas leaks, meter problems)
Please call us straight away on 0800 520 0202.
We have put in place contingency measures to deal with emergency home visits if they are needed. Please do tell us if you are unwell or self-isolating. This is so we can take extra precautions to protect you and our engineers.
If you experience a power cut:
- Phone: 105
- Visit powercut105.com
- If there’s an immediate emergency risk, call the emergency services too
If you have a gas emergency, call 0800 111 999.
I’m worried about paying my bills or topping up
Please contact us if you are struggling to pay your energy bills due to the coronavirus outbreak. Our specialist payment teams will work with you to find the best solution to help you with your energy payments.
You can get in touch by filling out our online form.
We will try to be as flexible as possible, as we know everyone’s situation is different. If you are struggling financially, options may include:
- reviewing bill payment plans
- payment breaks or a reduction in how much you pay
- giving you a longer time to pay
The government has also introduced new measures to protect people in financial hardship due to the outbreak. You can find out more about the new measures, such as how to claim benefits on the GOV.UK website.
Please be aware that no credit meters will be disconnected during this time.
Are you still sending out engineers for metering appointments?
Our partners who maintain, install and read our meters are now only carrying out emergency metering work. This is so they can focus on emergencies and helping vulnerable customers.
Non-urgent metering appointments are no longer going ahead or being booked. Our customer care team will be in touch to confirm your appointment has been cancelled.
We can’t say for certain when metering appointments will restart as the situation changes daily. So, we will let you know when we are ready to rebook and make appointments.
What’s happening to smart meter appointments?
To ensure the safety of our engineers, we won’t be taking any new, non-urgent smart meter installation appointments.
If you had a smart meter appointment, someone will be in touch to confirm it has been cancelled. As soon as we can, we will contact you to arrange a new appointment.
I’m using more energy than normal because I’m working from home. What can I do?
Many of us will be using more energy than usual as we adapt to staying at home.
Even during your normal day-to-day routine, it’s a great idea to know how to use energy efficiently so you can save money on your bills and cut your carbon footprint.
Head to the GNE blog for practical energy efficiency advice.
Other organizations that can offer advice if you’re struggling to manage or pay for your energy are:
- Energy Saving Trust – has lots of free practical tips to cut your energy use and save on your bills
- Smart Energy GB – advice and information on saving energy with a smart meter
- Citizens Advice – offers free and impartial advice on managing your bills
- Step Change – a debt advice charity that can give you free help and advice