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.
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.
Some require the money to be added directly to the meter itself through a coin slot. As technology progresses more and more providers are giving the option to top up online or via text or app, making life more convenient for the consumers. Prepayment meters are often installed rental homes in order to avoid tenants racking up debts or used by those who did not pass the credit check required to sign up for a credit meter.
4Although it is possible to find a better deal 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.
If you were only switching providers you would have a 17-day wait before the process would be completed however switching to a credit meter means you would need to have a different meter fitted. Therefore you may need to wait before longer. Additionally, as you will need a different meter, a fee might be charged in order to pay for the new meter and the installation process. The good news is that as of April 2016, none of the Big Six energy suppliers charge for the switch. It is best to always check with your provider beforehand.
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:
Cons of having a prepayment energy meter:
To begin with you must be eligible for the switch. Certain criteria must be met and these all depend on your provider. In most cases this means that you must have no outstanding debts with your current provider 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 provider. Some suppliers may charge if you miss the appointment set so always ensure that you contact your provider if you are not able to make it.
We hope that this guide had all the information you were after. Here are a few more reasons to switch your energy provider today.
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