Millions could be at risk from coronavirus by leaving home to top-up on energy

Millions could be at risk from coronavirus by leaving home to top-up on energy


MILLIONS of Brits are continuing to put themselves and others at risk by leaving their home to top up on gas and electricity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite 4.3 million UK households having signed up for pre-paid energy, almost half of those with smart meters are still heading to the shops to top-up.

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This means more than two million adults are unnecessarily exposing themselves to the virus.

Leading energy supplier Utilita wants to remind customers to top up online or via an app – staying safely at home during the crisis.

Bill Bullen, Utilita CEO and founder, said: “This is the biggest threat for generations.

"People spread viruses, so we must all stay indoors unless it is absolutely necessary to go out – this is about saving lives.

How to get around leaving the house if you need to top-up

BRITS have been advised to self-isolate if they've come into contact with someone infected with coronavirus, fallen ill with symptoms of it, or travelled to an affected area.

If you're self-isolating and you're on a pre-payment meter, you might be wondering how you can top up from home.

Most energy providers are advising customers to top up on the phone using its automated service or online.

It may also be worth asking a friend of family member to top up for you, but only if they're going out anyway for essentials.

If these options aren't possible, your energy provider may be able to send you a preloaded key or card with credit to then send through the post.

We've rounded up how you can get help during the coronavirus crisis if you're struggling to pay your bills.

Most energy providers are offering help to customers during this time, so it's worth letting them know if you've been hit financially.

Here are the contact details for some of the major UK energy companies:

  • British Gas
  • Bulb
  • EDF Energy
  • E.ON
  • NPower
  • OVO Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • SSE

“My clear and direct message is that no-one should leave the house during the Covid-19 emergency to top-up their energy meters.

"If you have a smart meter, you can top-up from the comfort of your own home.

“In the last few weeks we have seen a huge spike in people taking our advice – around 58,000 downloaded our ‘My Utilita’ app – that is a 107 per cent increase on the previous month – but a massive 45 per cent are still returning to stores to top-up.

"If this trend is replicated nationally across all suppliers, this is around two million households.

“All Pre-Pay energy customers with a smart meter, whether with Utilita or not, can top-up via phone, website or via a dedicated app if their energy provider has one.

“For elderly or vulnerable customers who may have difficulties, we’d urge trusted friends or neighbours to download the app to top up for them.”

To top up online, visit Utilita and follow the simple steps.


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We've rounded up how to get help paying bills if you’re struggling during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Plus energy firms including British Gas and EDF Energy are helping customers with their bills during the coronavirus crisis.

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