Update about smart installations

Following the latest government guidelines, we're taking bookings and installing smart meters, starting with customers in England. However, if you're over 70 or considered at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus or you or anybody in your household are displaying symptoms, please don't book until it is safe for you to do so.

You can find out more about why we're taking smart bookings in just England and what we're doing to keep you and our engineers safe.

We’ve made a number of changes to our services to help prioritise the vulnerable, and those at risk of power loss at this time.

As we’re helping more customers than normal and prioritising customers with emergencies, we won’t be able to answer general questions over the phone. You may find it quicker to use your online account to manage your energy or phone and broadband. Our mobile app is also available to energy customers who pay by Direct Debit or quarterly bill.

If you have general questions, you may find the answers you need in the sections below.

Energy

Will my energy supply continue as normal?

Yes, your supply will continue as normal. We’re taking lots of steps to make sure it’s protected.

How should I get in contact with you at this time?

We want to keep our phone lines free for customers in emergency situations, such as those who have lost power or who can't pay their bill. That’s why we’re asking everyone to do their bit by using their online account or our mobile app wherever possible. You can use it to manage your payments, including setting up or changing a Direct Debits, and to submit readings online.

If you have a non-urgent enquiry, you can also try to find the answer you need online by visiting our online help and services.

If you have an emergency, or can't pay your bill, you can call us on 0345 070 7373 (Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm; Saturday: 8am-2pm). There might be longer waiting times than normal, but we want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to help.

Why are you taking smart bookings in just England at the moment?

This is to reflect the different approaches taken by the governments of Scotland and Wales. We will continue to monitor the devolved governments' guidelines.

How are you keeping your customers and engineers safe during smart installations?

We understand your concerns about this. Our teams have been trained on how to keep everyone safe while they’re in your home:

  • The engineer will call you on the way to your home to make a final check of the health of the household and to remind you about social distancing guidelines.
  • All engineers will thoroughly disinfect their tools and equipment before arriving at your home.
  • All engineers will wear an SSE uniform and will show you their ID badge before entering your home.
  • All engineers will use antibacterial hand sanitiser and will wear gloves at all times.
  • If your meter is located outside of your property, then you will have minimal contact with the engineer.
  • If your engineer needs to enter your home, they will ask you to wait in another room to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Before leaving your home, the engineer will wipe down all surfaces they have been in contact with using disinfectant wipes.

What you need to do before your smart meter installation:

  • Open any external windows and doors in the area where your smart meter(s) is being installed.
  • Clear any obstacles so our engineer can safely get to your current meters, boiler and any other gas appliances.
  • We'll need someone over 18 to be there while we install your smart meter, so please arrange this beforehand.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the work.
  • Be prepared – your power will be turned off for about 30 minutes during the installation.

One important thing to remember: if you or anyone in your household becomes unwell before your appointment, unfortunately it will need to be rescheduled. You can reschedule online or you can give us a call on 0345 071 7892 and we’ll be able to help with this.

All our team members will stop working immediately if they (or their household) show any signs of symptoms.

Why are smart meter installations going ahead in England, but not meter reading visits?

To understand this decision, it's important to look at some key differences between meter reading visits and smart meter appointments:

  • Meter readers will visit up to 80 properties a day compared with 2-3 appointments for engineers installing a smart meter. Meter readers wouldn't have the time to change PPE between visits, and there just isn't enough PPE to keep you and our meter readers safe during the visits.
  • For smart meter appointments we call you on the day of the installation to complete final checks. This includes a reminder about social distancing guidelines and asking about the health of the household. It's not possible to do this for meter reading visits so we wouldn't want to surprise you when you might not be prepared to follow social distancing advice. We also wouldn't know if you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus which wouldn't be safe for you or our meter readers.
  • We also appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone and that unannounced meter reading visits could be inappropriate.

We are constantly reviewing the situation to find ways to resume meter reading visits that keep you and our engineers safe.

I want to switch energy providers. Can I still do this?

Yes, you’re still able to switch energy providers in the normal way. You can switch to SSE easily online. If you want to leave us, you are still able to do this as well.

What’s the OVO Coronavirus Hardship Scheme?

SSE is part of the OVO family, and the OVO Coronavirus Hardship Scheme is our way of easing current pressures.

It‘s a provision of £50m designed to support our energy customers who’ve been significantly financially impacted by the coronavirus. It works by reducing people’s payments for up to three months. We’ll then work out a manageable plan that allows them to pay it back later, a little bit at a time.

We know these are extremely tough times. The effects of the coronavirus are leaving many of us unexpectedly struggling to pay our bills – and feeling overwhelmed. We’ve designed this scheme for those who simply can’t pay their bills.

If you’re an SSE energy customer and you can’t pay because of the effects of the coronavirus, then you can apply. We know that everyone’s situation is different, so we’ll discuss your circumstances to make sure the right help goes to the right people. If your application is successful, we’ll offer a level of support that’s right for you.

We want to make sure those who most need help take priority. So please help us to support those who need us and only apply if you absolutely need to:

  • If you pay for your energy quarterly or by Direct Debit, you can apply for the scheme by calling us on 0345 071 7977 (Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm; Saturday: 8am-2pm).

  • If you have a Pay As You Go (prepayment meter), call us on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm).

Direct Debit or quarterly bill

I’m struggling to pay my energy bill. What can I do?

We understand that this is a really difficult time and lots of people might find themselves unable to pay their bills unexpectedly. So if you end up struggling to pay for your energy, call us on 0345 070 7373 (Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm; Saturday: 9am-2pm). We’ll work through the options with you.

I’m using more energy because I’m working or staying at home all day. What can I do?

We know that this is an extremely difficult time for us all – and that staying at home means you’ll probably use more energy than usual. But if you want some practical help to cut your energy use and your bills, take a look at our energy efficiency advice.

I can’t afford my debt repayments because of a coronavirus-related situation. What can I do?

We understand that lots of people are worried about losing income because of the current situation. Our priority is to protect our most vulnerable customers, and we’ll get you through to a dedicated adviser in our call centre to support.

If you’re struggling to repay your debt, it's important that you let us know so we can work out a manageable plan for you. We’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options. Call us on 0345 070 7373 (Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm; Saturday: 9am-2pm). Our call centre might be busier than usual but bear with us.

Are you offering payment holidays to customers that are struggling during the coronavirus outbreak?

We're considering every case on an individual basis to make sure we’re providing the best support for each situation. If you can’t afford your current payments right now, we’ll work with you to reduce your payments to a level that you can afford.

If you’re finding it hard to pay for your energy, please call us on 0345 070 7395 and we’ll work through your options. We're here Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and on Saturday from 9am to 2pm.

There might be longer waiting times than normal, but we want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to help.

Where can I go to get more help if I’m struggling with my energy because of the coronavirus?

If you can pay for your energy now but would welcome advice about managing your energy and finances over the coming months, these organisations all offer brilliant help and support:

Are you still going to be reading meters?

No, unfortunately not. All at-home meter readings are currently suspended to protect both our customers and our teams. For people who aren’t able to update their meter reads themselves online, we’ll be calling customers and asking you to help us by reading your own meter over the phone, wherever possible.

How will you be able to read my meter if I’m self-isolated?

If you have a smart meter

Your readings will update automatically, so there’s nothing to worry about.

If you don’t have a smart meter

All at-home meter readings are currently suspended to protect both our customers and our teams. Please submit your readings online. It's quick, you'll get an instant, up-to-date balance, and you'll know you're only paying for the energy you use.

For people who aren’t able to update their meter reads themselves online, we’ll be calling customers and asking you to help us by reading your own meter over the phone, wherever possible.

Are you still taking smart meter appointment bookings?

Yes, we’re still taking bookings and installing smart meters for people, unless:

  • You or someone in your household is in self-isolation.
  • Someone in your household is over 70, or deemed at high risk of coronavirus. If you're in a high-risk group, please don’t make a booking for a smart meter until it's safe for you to do so.

Find out how we're keeping you and our engineers safe during coronavirus.

I have a smart meter appointment. Is it still going ahead?

Yes, as long as you and your household are well your booking can go ahead.

We’ll call before to double-check that everyone’s well. If you or anyone in your home is self-isolating, your appointment will be cancelled and rescheduled for when it’s safe to do so. As this is a fast-moving situation, this advice might change. We’ll keep this page updated, so you might want to check back.

Find out how we're keeping you and our engineers safe during coronavirus.

I have a smart meter appointment but I’m self-isolating because I or someone in my household has symptoms. What should I do?

To keep our engineers safe, your booking won't go ahead and you'll need to reschedule your appointment when it’s safe to do so. We recommend you reschedule online. You can also call us on 0345 071 7892 and we’ll work through your options. Our phone lines are extremely busy right now, but we'll be with you as soon as we can.

I have a smart meter appointment that is confirmed to go ahead. How will I be kept safe?

We understand your concerns about this. Our teams have been trained on how to keep everyone safe while they’re in your home:

  • The engineer will call you on the way to your home to make a final check of the health of the household and to remind you about social distancing guidelines.
  • All engineers will thoroughly disinfect their tools and equipment before arriving at your home.
  • All engineers will wear an SSE uniform and will show you their ID badge before entering your home.
  • All engineers will use antibacterial hand sanitiser and will wear gloves at all times.
  • If your meter is located outside of your property, then you will have minimal contact with the engineer.
  • If your engineer needs to enter your home, they will ask you to wait in another room to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Before leaving your home, the engineer will wipe down all surfaces they have been in contact with using disinfectant wipes.

What you need to do before your smart meter installation:

  • Open any external windows and doors in the area where your smart meter(s) is being installed.
  • Clear any obstacles so our engineer can safely get to your current meters, boiler and any other gas appliances.
  • We'll need someone over 18 to be there while we install your smart meter, so please arrange this beforehand.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the work.
  • Be prepared – your power will be turned off for about 30 minutes during the installation.

One important thing to remember: if you or anyone in your household becomes unwell before your appointment, unfortunately it will need to be rescheduled. You can reschedule online or you can give us a call on 0345 071 7892 and we’ll be able to help with this.

All our team members will stop working immediately if they (or their household) show any signs of symptoms.

Pay As You Go meter

I can’t go out because I've been advised to stay at home. How can you help?

There are different ways we can help if you're in this situation. What you should do depends on the type of Pay As You Go meter you have:

If you don't have a smart meter

We encourage you to keep at least 14 days’ worth of credit on your meter in case you need to self-isolate. It's also worth noting that the credit on your meter will need to cover any debt repayments and standing charges.

If you're not able to do this, please ask family members or friends if they can help you. Remember to wash your hands before and after you handle your card, and disinfect the card before it’s given to anyone. Don't forget to disinfect the card again when it's been returned. Also, try to avoid direct contact with the person who picks up and drops off the card.

If you're unable to ask friends and family, please call us and we'll help by taking payment over the phone and arranging for an engineer to deliver your credit on a key or card.

If you don't have any funds to top up your meter, we can offer you a temporary credit or reduce any payments you're making through your meter so your credit lasts longer. You can call us on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturdays, 9am-6pm; Sundays, 9am-5pm). Our call centre will be busier than usual but please bear with us. Once you're through we'll review your situation and talk you through the options.

Remember – most meters have an emergency credit or a friendly credit facility if you're temporarily unable to buy credit.

We're fitting smart meters for Pay As You Go customers where possible. These meters let you top up online, so you don't have to go to the shop to buy credit. You can find out more on our smart meter page.

If you have a smart meter

If you have a smart meter, you can top up online or call us to make a payment and we'll apply the credit to your meter. Smart meter customers can also have temporary credit sent directly to your meter.

If you do need to call us, you can do so on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm; Saturdays, 9am-2pm). Our call centre will be busier than usual, but please bear with us. Once you’re through we’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options.

Remember – most meters have either an emergency credit or a friendly credit facility for you to use if you are temporarily unable to buy credit.

Which shops can I buy credit from?

We're working with PayPoint to make sure shops stay open for you to buy credit. You can find a full list of PayPoint shops online.

What shall I do if I can't pay for my energy because of the impact of coronavirus and I'm going to run out?

If you think this might happen, call us on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm) so we can work out how to help. Our call centre might be busier than usual, but bear with us. Once you’re through we’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options. There might be longer waiting times than normal, but we want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to help.

I'm going to lose power and it's an emergency. What should I do?

If it’s an emergency or you might lose power, please ring our team on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm) . We’ll get you to a dedicated adviser in our call centre to help those who are struggling as best we can.

There might be longer waiting times than normal, but we want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to help.

Are you offering emergency credit extensions to people struggling in the current situation?

We're considering every case on an individual basis to make sure we’re providing the best support for each of our customers.

If you can’t afford your payments right now, we’ll work with you to find a solution. One solution may be a credit extension. This is emergency credit to see you through these difficult times. If you're unable to pay for your energy, please call us on 0345 072 9495 (Monday- Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm) and we’ll work through the options with you. If you do get a credit extension, this money will need to be repaid at a future date. But, together, we’ll find a manageable plan that’s best for you.

I can’t afford my debt repayments because of a coronavirus-related situation. What can I do?

We understand that lots of people are worried about losing income because of the current situation. Our priority is to protect our most vulnerable customers, and we’ll get you through to a dedicated adviser in our call centre to support.

If you’re struggling to repay your debt, it's important that you let us know so we can work out a manageable plan for you. We’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options. Call us on 0345 072 9495 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm). There might be longer waiting times than normal, but we want you to know that we’ll do everything we can to help. Once you’re through we’ll review your individual situation and talk you through the options.

I’m using more energy because I’m working or staying at home all day. What can I do?

We know that this is an extremely difficult time for us all – and that staying at home means you’ll probably use more energy than usual. But if you want some practical help to cut your energy use and your bills, take a look at our energy efficiency advice.

It's also worth thinking about getting a smart meter. We're installing smart Pay As You Go meters where possible. You'll be able to see how much energy you're using in real-time to help you find where you can cut down. And you can top up online so you don't have to go to the shops to get credit.

Are you still taking smart meter appointment bookings?

Yes, we’re still taking bookings and installing smart meters for people, unless:

  • You or someone in your household is in self-isolation.
  • Someone in your household is over 70, or deemed at high risk of coronavirus. If you're in a high-risk group, please don’t make a booking for a smart meter appointment until it's safe for you to do so.

Find out how we're keeping you and our engineers safe during coronavirus.

I have a smart meter appointment. Is it still going ahead?

Yes, as long as you and your household are well your booking can go ahead.

We’ll call before to double-check that everyone’s well. If you or anyone in your home is self-isolating, your appointment will be cancelled and rescheduled for when it’s safe to do so. As this is a fast-moving situation, this advice might change. We’ll keep this page updated, so you might want to check back.

Find out how we're keeping you and our engineers safe during coronavirus.

I have a smart meter appointment but I’m self-isolating because I or someone in my household has symptoms. What should I do?

To keep our engineers safe, your booking won't go ahead and you'll need to reschedule your appointment when it’s safe to do so. We recommend you reschedule online. You can also call us on 0345 071 7892 and we’ll work through your options. Our phone lines are extremely busy right now, but we'll be with you as soon as we can.

I have a smart meter appointment that is confirmed to go ahead. How will I be kept safe?

We understand your concerns about this. Our teams have been trained on how to keep everyone safe while they’re in your home:

  • The engineer will call you on the way to your home to make a final check of the health of the household and to remind you about social distancing guidelines.
  • All engineers will thoroughly disinfect their tools and equipment before arriving at your home.
  • All engineers will wear an SSE uniform and will show you their ID badge before entering your home.
  • All engineers will use antibacterial hand sanitiser and will wear gloves at all times.
  • If your meter is located outside of your property, then you will have minimal contact with the engineer.
  • If your engineer needs to enter your home, they will ask you to wait in another room to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Before leaving your home, the engineer will wipe down all surfaces they have been in contact with using disinfectant wipes.

What you need to do before your smart meter installation:

  • Open any external windows and doors in the area where your smart meter(s) is being installed.
  • Clear any obstacles so our engineer can safely get to your current meters, boiler and any other gas appliances.
  • We'll need someone over 18 to be there while we install your smart meter, so please arrange this beforehand.
  • Keep children and pets at a safe distance from the work.
  • Be prepared – your power will be turned off for about 30 minutes during the installation.

One important thing to remember: if you or anyone in your household becomes unwell before your appointment, unfortunately it will need to be rescheduled. You can reschedule online or you can give us a call on 0345 071 7892 and we’ll be able to help with this.

All our team members will stop working immediately if they (or their household) show any signs of symptoms.

Boiler and heating cover

Can I still report a problem?

Yes, our customer services emergency lines are open as usual. You can call us on 0345 070 9383.

If you have coronavirus or are showing symptoms then, where possible, we’ll try to fix the problem over the phone.

If we’re unable to solve the issue this way and an engineer needs to attend, we may not be able to send one out until day 14 of your isolation period ends. This is to keep our engineers safe and others who they might come into contact with.

What do I do if I have an emergency?

If you and your household are healthy and have no coronavirus symptoms, then we’ll deal with an emergency like loss of heating as normal.

If you have an emergency and you or anyone in your household do have coronavirus symptoms, please call us on 0345 070 9383 and we’ll do our best to help.

How are you keeping customers safe?

In line with government guidance, we’re taking steps to minimise contact between people wherever possible. But we know that heating, hot water, and home electrical systems are essential for customers, so we’ll continue to deal with emergencies, looking after the needs of the most vulnerable customers first. It also means we’ll be postponing all other appointments such as annual service visits.

If you call us, we’ll ask if:

  • You or anyone in your home has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
  • You or anyone in your home is showing signs of any symptoms of coronavirus detailed on the NHS website.

If the answer to any of these questions is yes and you still have heating and hot water, we won’t be able to send out an engineer until day 14 of your isolation period ends. This is to keep our engineers safe and others who they might come into contact with.

If you’ve been diagnosed with coronavirus or are showing symptoms and are without heating or hot water, please call us on 0345 070 9383 and we’ll try to find an interim solution. If you’re elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating, please let us know when you speak to us so we can fully understand your situation. We know things are difficult for customers who need to self-isolate and will prioritise those who need us most.

Our engineer will call you when they’re due to arrive to confirm they’re coming and check if your circumstances have changed. If your circumstances have changed, we may need to reschedule their visit until day 14 of your isolation period ends. Should this happen and you're without heat, please call us on 0345 070 9383 so we can discuss interim solutions.

When our engineer arrives at your property they’ll follow thorough hygiene protocols to keep everyone safe. They may ask to wash their hands whilst at your property.

We ask that you make sure the areas that our engineers will be working in are kept as clean and sanitary as possible.

I'm due my annual service. Will this still go ahead?

In line with government guidance, we’re taking steps to minimise contact between people where possible. So we’ll be postponing all non-emergency appointments including annual services.

Once advised by the Government that it is safe to continue routine appointments, we’ll be in touch to reschedule your annual boiler service.

If your annual service hasn’t been scheduled yet, we’ll be in touch. There’s no need to call us to book one.

Phone and broadband

How do I get in touch with you?

Our phone lines are extremely busy and we’re focusing on the people who need our help the most, so you may experience longer waiting times than usual. You may be able to find answers to your broadband and phone questions on our help and advice pages.

I’m interested in getting broadband from you. Will it be an issue if I need a new phone line installed?

Due to coronavirus restrictions our supplier Openreach has suspended new phone line installations. So a small number of people looking to join our phone and broadband may not be able to until line installations can restart. When you compare packages on our website, we’ll only offer you ones where you don’t need a new line installed.

With so many people being at home more, how will your broadband keep up with the increased demand?

We know that everyone in the UK has had to adapt in the face of the disruption caused by coronavirus. Part of this is far more of us living, learning and working from home. We’re working with our suppliers and the government to make sure you continue to get the internet you expect despite increased demand on the network. We’re also working to make sure any faults are still resolved as soon as possible.

Do you have any tips for how I can manage my broadband at home?

Whether the kids are off school, you need to work from home, or you want to stay in touch with family and friends, we’re doing everything we can to make sure our broadband can support the increase in demand. But there are also some steps you can take to help everyone in your home get the broadband they need.

  1. Read our advice on broadband speed and connectivity.
  2. Take a look at Ofcom’s seven tips on staying connected.
  3. Make sure your SSE broadband package meets your needs. Our Fibre and Fibre Plus packages give you unlimited downloads and faster speeds (subject to availability). Take a look at what products are available in your area.
What help can I get if I’m struggling to pay my bill?

We understand that our customers may be facing difficulties paying their bills at the moment. If you’d like to speak to us about your payments, call us on 0345 678 0051 and choose option 4. We’ll do everything we can to support you by looking at ways you can save money on your bills and checking you’re on the correct package. If necessary, we’ll go through payment plan options to try and find something to help you. Please be assured that we’ll continue to keep you connected throughout this time.

Other questions

Will the fact that SSE has furloughed some of its staff affect customer service?

No. Since coronavirus hit, we’ve made a number of changes to our services to help prioritise the vulnerable, and those at risk of power loss. You'll see this highlighted in many of the answers to other questions. But there won’t be any extra changes to our service as a result of the difficult decision to furlough some of our staff members. We’re still here to support you however we can.