As of 1 January 2020, British Gas pre-payment customers will no longer be able to top up meters at their usual news agent or supermarket, as the supplier ditches PayPoint.
The UK’s largest energy supplier has instead reached an agreement with Payzone that will allow pre-payment customers to top up at 13,000 locations.
That’s 15,000 fewer locations than PayPoint, which allows top ups at 28,000 convenience retailers.
Customers won’t lose their ability to top up at 11,500 Post Office locations, however.
But the change will mean longer journeys and inconvenience for some customers. Customers took to Twitter to express their anger and say they were considering leaving British Gas.
“im with british gas and live no where near a payzone,” user @emmaleak tweeted.
“I've switched this morning. I can't risk being with out either electric or gas,” user @anthonybishop76 replied.
They can also request a smart pre-payment meter from British Gas, allowing them to top up online, via a mobile app, or over the phone.
Pre-payment customers can also see if they can switch to a credit meter with British Gas—a move that should also save them hundreds of pounds on energy each year. Pre-payment energy customers pay up to £378 a year more on their energy than those who pay by credit, according to a recent report by auto switching service Switchcraft.
Not all pre-payment customers will be able to switch to a credit tariff—you’ll need to have a decent credit rating and not be in debt to your supplier. But if you’re eligible, many suppliers, including British Gas, will install a credit meter for you for free.
British Gas partnerships director Amanda Reynolds said: "We are pleased to announce a new long-term contract that will benefit our customers who choose to pay their bills or top up their prepayment meters over the counter. These customers will now be able to top up in Payzone locations – and still also be able to do so in their local post office – with over 24,000 locations in total."
CEO of PayPoint Patrick Headon said: “After a long and mutually beneficial partnership, it is disappointing for PayPoint and British Gas customers that we have been unable to agree a renewal of our contract.”
With the loss of the contract with British Gas, PayPoint expects to take a £1.4 million hit to its revenue for 2019/20 and £3.5 million the next year.
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