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Prepayment Meters and Emergency Credit

Posted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:46 pm
by preeve
Prior to April this year, people who had used their emergency credit on their pre-payment meters could apply for a crisis loan so that they could 'top-up' and not run out of power. Now that crisis loans are no longer available how can we stop these people being without heating and light? I understand that the government has given discretionary funding to local councils but ours isn't offering any monetary assistance, just advice.

Does anyone have any examples of good practice in this area please?

Pippa Reeve
Northants Warm Homes

Re: Prepayment Meters and Emergency Credit

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:27 pm
by ALEO Admin
Hi Pippa

Thanks to Rosamund Baptiste of Energy Solutions (NWL) for emailing through the response below:

Where we have come across, clients who cannot top up their meter mostly due to lost cards or faulty cards the supplier will give an emergency top up which the client pays back over time so long as they go to the same paypoint or tell the supplier their nearest one. SOME WILL PUT A PROPORTION OF THE EMERGENCY TOP UP ON OR £10.

Re: Prepayment Meters and Emergency Credit

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:01 pm
by John Kolm-Murray
Hi Pippa,

On 2nd April we started an Energy Reconnection Fund through our new Resident Support Scheme. Residents who have no credit or have been disconnected from a standard meter are assessed and referred to us by the Resident Support Team and we then top-up their key or card (£25 for one fuel/£40 for both) or pay to have their meter reconnected. We also assess them for energy efficiency and other measures under our Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE). They are permitted to access the fund on only one occasion, except in extreme circumstances.

It is quite labour-intensive to have them come in and for us to take their key or card next door to the shop to top it up (or visit them if they;re housebound) but we're thankfully only doing about one top-up per day at the moment. That will no doubt increase in the winter, along with everything else we do!

John

Re: Prepayment Meters and Emergency Credit

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:07 pm
by David Miles
Hi Pippa

Swindon Borough Council is currently offering support for people needing emergency credit for gas / electricity prepayment meters through its Emergency Assistance Fund. If people cannot afford to top up their gas / electricity and they meet our eligibility criteria then we will top up their meters to a maximum of £25 in total within 24 hours. They can only receive help from us twice in a 12 month period. The payment is made direct to the Utility Company.

During the winter months, we also supported the Surviving Winter Appeal to provide payments to help people stuggling with their fuel bills. There was an eligibility criteria attached to this and the funding was a limited amount depending on donations, but the grants provided were more generous that the Emergency Assistance Fund with grants of £150 or £300. These took longer to administer though so were not so helpful in emergency situations.

Cheers, David Miles
Affordable Warmth Coordinator, Swindon Borough Council