British Gas customers have been struggling to top up their prepayment meters after changes to the way it can be paid. Previously, PayPoint provided payment services but this is now provided by Payzone, meaning 15,000 fewer locations to top up across the UK.
Under previous rules, customers could top up at 28,000 convenience retailers and at 11,500 Post Office branches. Now, British Gas customers will have to top up at either one of Payzone's 13,000 locations or the same post offices as before.
This could mean some people in the Borders may have to travel much further to top up their energy meters. Hawick only has one Payzone provider compared to five PayPoint locations. Eyemouth has no Payzone providers compared to two PayPoint providers. Although Post Offices will still be able to take payments, consumers may need to travel much further than before.
MPs, including local MP John Lamont, have signed a letter asking for British Gas to reconsider their proposals so that consumers have greater and more accessible payment options.
Commenting John Lamont MP said: “Unfortunately, those on prepayment meters tend to be the most vulnerable customers who may not have access to a car or public transport. It is a shame that British Gas has forgot about their rural customers who may have much further to travel because of these changes.
“I hope that this will at least mean more people now use their local Post Office for this and other services. However, after doing some research, it is clear that many people will be much further away from a top up location than they were before the changes.
“I have teamed up with a group of MPs from across the UK to try and put pressure on British Gas to have another look at these changes.”