A MOTHER and her 16-year-old autistic son were left without heating over the weekend after their gas provider changed its payment system.

Angela Dickson, 43, from Bicester, uses British Gas’ pay as you go meter to pay for her gas at her home.

This involves being issued a card that customers can put money on by going to their nearest PayPoint at a supermarket, newsagent or their nearest Post Office.

British Gas ended its partnership with PayPoint and has now partnered with card payment service Payzone instead, but the machines have not been reprogrammed to the new service quickly enough.

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The machine at Mrs Dickson’s nearest shop, McColl’s on Villiers Road, has not been updated to the Payzone system meaning she could not put money onto her card to then put into her meter and get her gas.

She said: “British Gas didn’t update their machine in time and I didn’t realise this until Saturday that they had changed the system so I couldn’t top up all weekend.

“I had no heating, no gas and no hot water. It was a massive issue as lots of other British Gas customers with top-up cards weren’t able to get credit.”

The gas provider is also partnered with the Post Office so that people can top up their cards there too, however she said her closest branch was not open over the weekend.

Ms Dickson added: “British Gas’ customer service is not good either. I was told the main post office is up to date but other places aren't as there’s a backlog, but that’s not good enough. It should have made sure all outlets have the right equipment in time.

“Some people who are vulnerable or perhaps elderly or live on their own, won’t know what to do in a situation like this so I just think it’s terrible - it’s a social injustice.

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“They really let their customers down with this one."

A British Gas spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to any customer that has experienced issues topping up at their new terminal and we are working with Payzone to fix any problems as an absolute priority.

“We’d ask any customer impacted to contact us so we can advise on where their next nearest terminal is or provide additional assistance.”

Mrs Dickson was able to go to a different shop on Bucknell Road, PT Food Ltd, which had the updated system and she managed to get credit put onto her card.

The Post Office confirmed yesterday that the other retailer that has a Payzone is Gulf Service Station on Buckingham Road which had its terminal updated yesterday.

The Post Office in Bicester town centre in Sheep Street, also offers the full range of British Gas transactions.