Help topping up during the coronavirus outbreak

If you have a top up (prepay) meter and you’re unable to top up because you're self-isolating, you may need to ask someone else to top up for you.

If you don’t have friends or family nearby, you can call your local volunteer service to arrange for help. They’re open from 8am to 8pm, on 0808 196 3646.

This article explains what to do if:


If someone is topping up for you

Prepare the key or card for pick up

Before someone arrives to pick up your key or card:

  • wash your hands and remove the key or card from the meter
  • wipe down the key or card gently with a cleansing wipe or a soapy cloth
  • Put the key or card into an envelope, or a plastic bag, with the name and address of the Paypoint or Payzone you normally use to top up, and which meter you need to top up – gas, electricity or both

For cash top ups, put the cash in the envelope.

For cashless top ups, including discretionary credit or if you paid for your top up over the phone, put a note in the envelope with more details:

  • for electricity - include the 8 digit reference code (also called a TAG code)
  • for gas - include the address of the specific Paypoint or Payzone where the volunteer should top up 

It might also help the person topping up if you write how long it usually takes you to get the Paypoint or Payzone by car, bike or on foot.

Safely hand over the key or card

When the volunteer knocks on your door, wait a couple of seconds before you answer. This will give them time to stand back 2 metres. Place the envelope or bag containing the key or card on the doorstep, close the door and wash your hands.

Get the key or card and top up your meter

Once the volunteer has topped up for you, they’ll come back to your home, place the envelope or bag on your doorstep and ring the doorbell. Just like before, wait a few seconds before answering the door to allow them to stand back.

The envelope or bag should now contain the key or card and the receipt showing the top up amount.

Wipe the key or card gently before placing it back in the meter. And finally, wash your hands. Job done.

If you have any problems, please get in touch

If you’re topping up for someone else

If someone is self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19), they might ask you to top up their key or card for them. These are the steps you should take to protect yourself, and the person you’re topping up for.

Safely pick up the key or card

When you pick up someone's key or card to top up for them, ask them to:

  • wash their hands and remove the key or card from their meter
  • wipe down the key or card gently with a cleansing wipe or a soapy cloth
  • put the key or card in an envelope, or a plastic bag
  • include a note in the envelope or bag with the name and address of a Paypoint or Payzone nearby, and which meter to top up – gas, electricity or both

For cash top ups, ask them to put the cash in the envelope.

For cashless top ups, they should include a note with more details:

  • for electricity - an 8 digit reference code (also called a TAG code)
  • for gas - the address of the specific Paypoint or Payzone where you should top up 

When you arrive at the person’s home, stand 2 metres from the door and ask them to leave the envelope or bag on the floor. Wait for them to go back inside before you pick it up.

Go to your nearest open Paypoint or Payzone

paypoint_logo.gif payzone_logo.gif

If the person you’re topping up for hasn’t given you the details of where to top up, you’ll find Paypoints or Payzones in local corner shops, newsagents, supermarkets and garages. Look out for the yellow or pink logo outside the shop, in the window or at the counter. Before you make the trip, call the shop or check online to make sure it’s open at this time. 

Find your nearest:


Hand over the key or card at the counter and pay for the top up

Once you’re in your local Paypoint or Payzone, walk to the counter and explain that you’d like to top up the key or card. Confirm how much you’d like to pay to top up.

For an electricity key, you can add up to £49 per transaction, up to a limit of £255 in total. There is no top up limit on a gas card.

The cashier will top up the key or card, and after taking your payment, return the key or card to you with a receipt. 

Cashless top ups

There’s a different process for cashless top ups, and the person you’re topping up for will need to give you some extra information before you go to the Paypoint or Payzone. 

Electricity
The person you're topping up for will need to give you their 8-digit TAG code, so you can give it to the staff at the Paypoint or Payzone. The staff should know how to use the code, but just in case, we have a guide on how to top up with a TAG code.

Gas
The person you're topping up for must tell you the address of a specific Paypoint or Payzone where you’ll top up. You’ll only be able to collect the credit at that store. 

When you arrive at the Paypoint or Payzone, hand your gas card to the person behind the counter and explain there is a message to collect on the card. They should insert the card into their machine to read the message. They may ask you to top up a maximum of £1 to receive the credit.

Check the receipt once you’ve topped up

If it shows ‘Credit failed’ or ‘Cancelled’, your top up hasn’t worked. Ask the cashier for help. Once you’ve successfully topped up, put the key/card and the receipt back in the envelope or plastic bag.

Safely hand back the key/card

Ring the bell, and leave the key/card on the floor by the door. Wait 2 metres from the door to check the person you’re topping up for has received it. Ask them to wipe the key/card before they add the credit to their meter and wash their hands again afterwards. 
 

Contact us if you need help

It’s important that people have energy in their homes. If you have any issues or you're worried that the person you’re topping up for might lose their energy supply, ask them to contact us

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