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Last updated: 21 January 2020
Almost 6 million people in the United Kingdom own a pay as you go, or prepayment, energy meter.
Here we will break down the pros and cons of having a prepayment meter and how, if you’ve got one, you can switch to a conventional, or credit, meter.
What Are Prepayment Meters?
Firstly, lets introduce what a prepayment energy meter is and how they work. As with pay as you go mobile phone plans, pay as you go meters require you to top up your credit in order to get your gas and electricity. You can top up in a number of ways including tokens, a smart card or key fobs which you have to manually take to a shop and top up there.
What Do You Gain If You Switch?
Although it is possible to find better energy deals
if you switch from one prepayment meter to another, pay as you go prices are the least competitive. The cheapest tariffs
and plans are often offered to customers with credit meters, meaning that they pay their bill monthly or quarterly.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Prepayment Meters?
In the case of pay as you energy meter the disadvantages overcome the advantages. Lets take a look:
Pros of having a prepayment energy meter:
- No large, unexpected bills as you pay in advance
- Help consumers manage their debt
- You are aware of your energy usage
Cons of having a prepayment energy meter:
- More expensive than standard credit meters
- Fewer competitive energy deals and tariffs available
- Inconvenient as you have to manually top up your credit
- Your energy supply may be switched off if you have run out of credit
- Old meters need their prices to be updated manually meaning you could be paying old rates
How Do I Begin the Switching Process?
To begin with you must be eligible to switch energy meters
. Certain criteria must be met and these all depend on your supplier. In most cases this means that you must have no outstanding debts
with your current supplier and the account holder may need to pass a credit check.
Once you have passed the credit check an engineer is sent to your residence to install your new meter. The waiting time all depends on your new supplier. Some energy suppliers
may charge if you miss the appointment set so always ensure that you contact your supplier if you are not able to make it.