SSE Airtricity Gas NI Limited - Covid-19 FAQs

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Covid-19 FAQs

31 July 2020

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions around Covid-19

See our Covid-19 Update here:

CUSTOMER SERVICE 

Q: What do I do in a gas emergency?  

 If you smell gas phone the 24-hour gas emergency service on 0800 002 001 

 

Q: Is your Customer Service Team still available to contact? 

We continue to provide our full customer service to our customers over the phone and via our online channels. We’re here to answer your questions.

 

We’re here to answer your questions   

  • Call 0345 900 5253: Monday-Thursday 8.30am-5.00pm and Friday 8.30am-4.30pm excluding bank holidays. 
  • Email us at info@airtricitygasni.com
  • Gas Boiler Repairs Priority Appointments – Call 0346 603 00 26 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm  We are continuing to operate as normal in accordance with our commitments in our various Codes of Practice which provide detail on the many different services we provide to customers. These Codes of Practice are here to make sure our products and services meet the needs of our customers. See our Codes of Practice here. We are actively monitoring Government guidance on social and physical distancing as well as safe working practices which may mean we are unable to safely obtain a meter reading. Our meter reading teams are equipped with PPE including face protection, gloves and sanitisers, and if we are required to read you internal meter, we will work with at the door to assess safety and ensure you are happy with us to proceed.
  • If we are unable to obtain a meter reading, our meter reading team will leave a card with you that provides instructions on how to submit a meter reading via our website.
  •   Q- How are you protecting customers when you need to access their homes? 
  • A copy of all the above Codes of Practice can be provided free of charge upon request. Copies are also available free of charge in alternative formats including Braille, Large Print of Audio Format. Please contact us if you require a copy
  • Q: Has your service changed in any way? 

Advice on how to read your meter is available in our ‘Help & Advice’ section on the website.

 

If you can’t send in a meter reading, don’t worry. We’ll use system generated estimated when needed and will update your account when we receive a future meter reading obtained by our team.

Q – What support is available to Vulnerable Customers?

The SSE Airtricity Energy Care Scheme provides you with a range of additional services suitable to your individual circumstances. You can register for the scheme if you are of pensionable age, disabled (including those who are blind, partially sighted, deaf or hearing impaired), or chronically sick. To register or find out more details:

As part of the SSE Airtricity Energy Care Scheme, we will, where reasonable, practicable and appropriate, provide the following services free of charge: password scheme, nominated contact, alternative format communications, special control or adaptors, meter exchange or meter movement, quarterly meter readings and a free annual gas safety check.

Other Care Registers

NI Water Care Register provides essential services for customers throughout Northern Ireland and offer a range of free additional services for older consumers and consumers who have a serious medical condition or need extra help for any other reason.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks Care Register (NIE Networks) offer a medical customer care information service to customers who are dependent on life supporting electrical equipment. Being on the register means you will receive up to date information by phone during a power cut or a planned interruption.

 

BILLING 

Q: Can I postpone my utility bill payment? 

If you have any concerns about paying your energy bills, please contact us as soon as possible so together we can come to an arrangement that allows you to manage your bills. We’ve spoken to lots of customers already, so you won’t be the first person to get in touch with us since the crisis started.

If needed, we will offer an arrangement to pay an agreed amount by instalments or through a prepayment meter. You can call us on 0345 900 5253, or email us at creditcontrol@airtricitygasni.com if you would like to discuss. 

If we don’t hear from you our debt collection process includes contacting you by letter, SMS and phone to try and engage with you. We want to help you as best we can, if we don’t hear from you, you’re at risk of having your meter exchanged.

 

Q: How can I help reduce my energy in my home?

Adopting some simple energy efficiency measures in your home could help you save on the cost of your energy bills and help the environment. Our Code of Practice on Efficient Use of Gas outlines the services, advice and assistance we may be able to offer you to help use your energy more efficiently.

To request a copy of any of any of our Codes of Practice or if you would like any advice or support in relation to reducing your gas consumption, call us on 0345 900 5253 or email info@airtricitygasni.com

Independent Energy Efficiency Advice

For more information and independent support on how you can use gas efficiently, contact NI Energy Advice on 0800 111 4455 or go online at www.nihe.gov.uk/Community/NI-Energy-Advice

  

Q: Because of a Coronavirus related situation, I cannot afford my debt repayment, what can I do? 

If you have any concerns about paying your energy bills, please contact us as soon as possible so together we can come to an arrangement that allows you to manage your bills. We’ve spoken to lots of customers already, so you won’t be the first person to get in touch with us since the crisis started.

If needed, we will offer an arrangement to pay an agreed amount by instalments or through a prepayment meter. You can call us on 0345 900 5253, or email us at creditcontrol@airtricitygasni.com if you would like to discuss. 

If we don’t hear from you our debt collection process includes contacting you by letter, SMS and phone to try and engage with you. We want to help you as best we can, if we don’t hear from you, you’re at risk of having your meter exchanged.

 

Independent support or advice

If you would like some free, independent local support, you may find it helpful to contact Advice NI, who provide a range of free money advice services. You can call their office on 0800 915 4604 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, email them at advice@adviceni.net, or visit their website adviceni.net. They’re also operating the NI Covid-19 community helpline on 0808 802 0020 or email at covid19@adviceni.net.

 

Q: How can I submit a meter reading myself? 

You can submit a meter reading on our website at www.airtricitygasni.com. Just follow the link to ‘Submit a Meter Reading’. 

 

PREPAY CUSTOMERS 

Q: I cannot get to a shop, how can I top up my gas meter?  

We recommend that you always keep your prepayment meter topped up.

If you have any concerns or difficulties topping up your prepayment meter, please contact us on 0345 900 5253 or by emailing info@airtricitygasni.com as we are here to help you, including supporting emergency gas meter top ups, and providing advice. 

There are several steps and facts we are advising customers with prepayment meters to consider both now and for planning for the future in the event of a second wave of COVID-19: 

  • The prepaid metering technology is provided and owned by the gas network companies in Northern Ireland and does not facilitate remote online or telephone top up. You must use your meter top up card. This is the same for all gas suppliers.
  • Gas top ups can only be purchased at a PayPoint Outlet. This means you must bring the card associated with your meter, to the outlet.
  • PayPoint outlet contact details are available from their website; https://consumer.paypoint.com.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty topping up your prepayment meter, please call us on 0345 900 5253 or email us at info@airtricitygasni.com. Our team will be able to assist you, including if necessary, obtaining an emergency meter top up to ensure that your gas supply remains in credit.
  • Make a list of neighbours, friends and family who live nearby and might be able to top up your card at an outlet for you if you are unable to leave your home.
  • Know who your gas supplier is, share that information with your helping neighbours, friends and family and give them your meter box key so they can access your meter if it is outside.
  • Consider topping up your meter more frequently or by a larger amount, up to the maximum value of £49 per vend, to ensure your meter always has enough credit. Multiple consecutive vends can be purchased to build up credit on your meter, however after each top-up is purchased, the top up card must be inserted into the meter before the next vend.
  • In addition to our emergency top up service, top up assistance can also be obtained through the Covid 19 community helpline number on 0808 802 0020. This helpline is operated through the Department of the Communities and AdviceNI, and also provides coronavirus community support through information and advice on benefits, employment support, food deliveries, accessing medicine, heating, and money/debt issues.
  • If your circumstances have changed and your prepayment meter is no longer suitable for your needs, please contact us to get information about possible credit meter options available to you.  We recommend that you always keep your prepayment meter topped up. The maximum top-up you can make is £49 per vend. This must be purchased in any PayPoint outlet using your PAYG card that is registered to your meter. Any top up purchase will be based on the applicable tariff rate at the time of the purchase. If your meter is faulty and not enabling gas flow, we will follow our normal procedures to try and diagnose the issue and to notify the Network Operator to arrange a fix. Contact us on 0345 900 5253 if your meter is faulty.If you smell gas, suspect a gas leak or you have no gas please call the 24-hour NI Gas Emergency Service on 0800 002 001.

 

HELPFUL ORGANISATIONS

Q: What organisations are available to provide help & support?

If you need independent help and advice there are a number of organisations that are there to provide support. Where appropriate, and in agreement with you, we’ll work with any organisation you choose to represent you.

Covid-19 community helpline number. This helpline is operated through the Department of the Communities and Advice NI, and also provides coronavirus community support through information and advice on benefits, employment support, food deliveries, accessing medicine, heating, and money/debt issues.

Advice NI provide a range of independent advice services including Welfare Reform, Money, Tax & Benefits and Business Debt.

Age NI (formerly Age Concern & Help the Aged) is a charity combining Age Concern NI and Help the Aged in Northern Ireland. Age NI provides advice and advocacy and delivers care services with the aim of improving the quality of later life for everyone.

NI Energy Advice is a one stop shop energy advice service run by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

National Energy Action (‘NEA’) is the national charity seeking to end fuel poverty. They can provide free advice on your energy bills and keeping warm and safe in your home.

Disability Action works to ensure that people with disabilities attain their full rights as citizens, by supporting inclusion, influencing Government policy and changing attitudes in partnership with disabled people.

 

The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland is an independent body and provides free, independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. It also has powers to investigate complaints if a supplier has not handled a complaint correctly. Any customer can use their service at no cost.

The Consumer Council of Northern Ireland have provided updates and further information on your consumer rights across a variety of areas that are being affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). For more information please click here.

 

Utility Regulator is an independent non-ministerial government department set up to ensure the effective regulation of the electricity, gas and water and sewerage industries in Northern Ireland.

  • Telephone: 028 9031 1575
  • Web: www.uregni.gov.uk

 

ENERGY SERVICES 

Q: I would like to get a boiler service repair/replacement, when can I make an appointment?

Our Energy Services team are running as normal. Please call us on 0345 6030026 to make your booking. Please note that due to current guidelines we’re are unable to take any bookings where a customer is self-isolating.  

 

Q: I have a boiler service repair/replacement booked and I no longer want an engineer to call out, can I postpone/reschedule?  

Yes. Please contact our Energy Services team by phone on 0345 6030026 and we will postpone/reschedule your booking for you. 

  

Q: If an engineer calls out to my house to carry out work, what measures will be taken to ensure we are both safe?  

If an engineer is working at your property, they’ll be fully equipped with personal protective equipment following the latest government and expert advice. Following this advice, we’ll ask for your co-operation to observe a social distance while we complete our work. We’re currently not undertaking work in any properties where an individual is self-isolating.

 

OTHER HELP AND SUPPORT

 Q: I am also an SSE Electricity customer and need help with my Electricity supply?

For SSE Airtricity Electricity customers please see the latest updates here: www.sseairtricity.com/uk/home/covid-19

 

 Q: My question I have isn’t here? 

For a full range of Questions and Answers,  check out our Help Centre or contact us by email at info@airtricitygasni.com or by calling us on 0345 900 5253.  

 We have created a booklet with a summary of Helpful Information and contact information of organisations that can provide further independent support.

 

See our Helpful Information Booklet here

 

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SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

SSE Airtricity is a trading name of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited which is a member of the SSE Group. The Registered Office of SSE Airtricity Gas Supply (NI) Limited is 25 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT2 7AQ. Registered in Northern Ireland No. NI032810.

View a list of our registered companies

If you smell gas, phone the 24-hour Northern Ireland Gas Emergency Service on 0800 002 001.