Scots urged to keep gas prepayment meters topped up over summer

Glasgow, Scotland – July 11, 2024:

Scottish households who rely on gas prepayment meters have been urged to ensure that they are kept topped up over summer, even if their heating is not being used.

Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national energy advice service, is reminding consumers that without regular top ups, gas standing charges will build up.

This means that at the end of the summer, when people start turning their central heating on again, they could find that a sizeable debt has built up that will need to be cleared.

Advice Direct Scotland is recommending that people put around £2.50 of credit onto their gas prepayment meters every week over the summer, so they are not faced with a bigger bill come the autumn.

The situation occurs because even when a household is using no gas at all, a daily standing charge still applies and will continue to be added to their meter.

The current daily standing charge for gas prepayment customers is 31.58p in northern Scotland and 31.66p in southern Scotland.

This means that someone living in Scotland who does not use any gas between the start of June and the end of August will still be charged almost £30.

If they failed to top up their prepayment meter over those three months, they would have to clear this debt in full before being able to turn on their central heating in September.

In some cases, people who have existing debts on their prepayment meters could also find themselves in an even worse situation if they fail to top up regularly.

This is because some energy suppliers recover prepayment meter debts through a fixed deduction each week. If a household does not top up for a few weeks, these missed payments will accumulate.

Standing charges vary depending on where someone lives in the UK. They are intended to cover the cost of things like maintaining the energy supply network, taking meter readings, and supporting social and environmental schemes.

The precise level of the charges changes throughout the year and is announced by energy regulator Ofgem at the same time as the energy price cap.

The levels for October to December will not be announced until August 27, but the predicted average is 33p per day, according to energy consultancy Cornwall Insight.

Advice Direct Scotland operates, which provides free, practical advice and information on energy-related matters to anyone in Scotland.

This ranges from supplier enquiries, understanding the complaints process, and what to do if experiencing problems with energy bills.

The team can be contacted on 0808 196 8660 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), or through

Hazel Knowles, Energy Lead for Advice Direct Scotland, said: 

“Over the summer, many households across Scotland who use gas prepayment meters will have switched off their central heating.

“This might be a deliberate choice to save money, or just something that isn’t on their mind because they haven’t needed to have the heating on.

“However, it’s important to keep your meter topped up to avoid debt caused by daily standing charges from building up, which could lead to you being unable to heat your home come the autumn.

“Gas and electricity prices are still significantly higher than they were before the energy crisis began and are predicted to rise again in October, with thousands of people worrying about their bills.

“Struggling customers should know that they do not have to suffer in silence – our expert team is on hand for anyone who needs help, regardless of their personal circumstances.”


Advice Direct Scotland is a charity which runs the national advice service Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.

Advice related to energy issues is available at and on freephone 0808 196 8660, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

The website also includes an online knowledge centre for Scots, with information on:

• Billing and meters

• Complaints and disputes

• Grants and assistance

• Scams and fraud

• Loss of energy supply

• Switching suppliers.

Free, impartial and practical advice is available to anyone in Scotland through Advice Direct Scotland’s service.

People can seek help in a number of different ways: freephone 0808 800 9060; and online, web chat and email at

Media Enquiries

Marc Roseblade - Head of Content, Media & Marketing

Marc Roseblade

Head of Content, Media and Marketing , Advice Direct Scotland
m: 07542 027083
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a: Mercantile Chambers, 39 ‑ 69 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, G2 6TS

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