Prepay electricity meter screen blank

I’m using a prepay meter using a key to top up from the Post Office. I’ve just had a look to see how much credit I have left but the screen isn’t displaying any information. I’ve pressed the blue button too wake it up but nothing is displaying but the screen is lit.
I topped up a few weeks ago which put me around £79 in credit but the street had a power cut just over a week ago. Could this have caused the problem?

Hi @NICOTENE :wave:

If the screen on your prepay meter is lit up, this should mean the display is still functional. Does the display respond at all when you put your key in the meter?

Hi Jim

I just tried it and nothing happened. Is the meter faulty?


If the screen is lit but just blank this sounds like the meter has entered fail safe mode, probably due to a power cut. My prepayment went blank last September and Bulb have no replacements for these old meters. The only suggestion is to change supplier to a company that caters only for prepayment. You will then get your meter changed. Bulb might offer you a one rate meter (no benefit for off peak electricity) . When I complained they straightaway suggested I move supplier. I have seen quite a few similar problems as ours on this community site so you are not alone.

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The OP doesn’t mention having Economy-7 or any other multi-rate tariff.

Best course of action here is to allow Bulb to install a smart meter free of charge, which will also have the effect of getting the OP off prepayment meters and onto normal monthly billing in turn reducing their energy costs.

Just a single rate mater. Already spoken to Bulb via email and been offered both types of smart meter, prepay or credit or switch supplier and hope for a replacement. The wait for prepay would be end of year so it seems I am sort of being forced into a credit meter if I want it now. Still no reply on how long it will take to get at the moment in these trying times. Are engineers able to come out to private premises just in case they catch something?

Yes, Bulb do not yet support smart prepayment meters. I wouldn’t put too much belief on whatever you’ve been told in terms of when they might be available.

Interesting phraseology. For most people it’s the other way around, they get forced onto prepayment meters when experiencing financial difficulty. Everybody I’ve ever known that has experienced prepayment meters (both in real life and via communities such as this) want off them as soon as possible. The energy costs and standing charges are higher on prepayment for one thing, why would you want to deliberately pay more if you don’t have to?

Surely you’re also worried about you or you family catching something from them? For what it’s worth, personally I’m not having anyone enter my property except under emergency circumstances. I’ve just switched away to Octopus due to the Bulb smart tariff trial ending, and now I want to get my smart meters replaced with ones usable by Octopus on their Go tariff, but I’m putting that on hold for now.

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I live alone so I have no problem with engineers entering the property. They can do their thing without coming near me or me near them.
I inherited the meter and have been happy as I am with it until now. Anyway I’ve asked for the credit meter but I need an answer on a timescale so I know whether I need to top up anytime soon. I can’t guess when credit is likely to run out, especially being home more, so using more.

That’s a huge anxiety, you have my sympathies. Optimistically, if it’s not just the screen that’s broken it might never turn off …

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Thanks for your replies. It normally wouldn’t worry me but if shops start shutting that allow top up by key then I’m stuck. I normally use the post office in town but that’s located inside a WHSmith. When will they be forced to close to keep the social distancing.

Don’t know if you’ve already seen these but I’ll post the links anyway. Notably …

If you’re not able to top up during a period of self-isolation, we’ll work to keep your energy on. In some cases, we’ll be able to arrange for you to top-up remotely and post a preloaded card/key.

assuming your meter is still actually working and accepting topups of course.

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Thanks. You’d have thought customer service would have give that information when I contacted them. Hopefully they can get the meter changed before I run out. I reckon have at least 6 weeks of credit left.


There can be a few reasons why prepay meters go blank, sometimes a power cut can trigger it. The display stops showing any info but the meter doesn’t actually stop working and won’t cut off your electricity even after the credit is assumed to be used up.

If you want to book in a smart credit meter exchange these are still going ahead at the moment and you can chat to one of my colleagues here to get this arranged.

Hi Chloe

I spoke to Sumant via email and he’s trying to organise a credit meter install as soon as possible.



That’s great, fingers crossed it’s all sorted soon :crossed_fingers:.

If I was in this position, I’d just ignore the fault.

So you’re assuming I would get free electricity once credit is used up?

Hi @NICOTENE If the screen on the meter is faulty it may be that the electricity will stay on, or the meter may go off and you’d be unable to top up. Given the logistical challenges and evolving nature of the current situation we’d strongly advise proceeding with the meter exchange to reduce the risk of your electricity cutting out. My colleague should be able to resolve this over email, but please let me know if you have any other questions

Hi Matthew

I should have enough credit to last about 5 to 6 weeks. What is the normal wait time for a credit meter fitting?


Hi @NICOTENE I’m glad to hear you’ve got plenty of credit on the meter. Engineer availability varies by region but it’s usually 2 weeks minimum wait for an installation date. If you’d like the booking done asap I’d advise getting in touch on the live chat on your online account