Prepayment meters

Did you know that switching from a prepayment meter to a credit meter can often save you money on your energy bills. This allows you to look at some of the more favourable tariffs on the market.

Prepayment meters are used mainly:

  • by people on low incomes,
  • those who didn’t pass the credit check to pay their energy bills quarterly or monthly or
  • those who don’t have bank accounts to set up Direct Debits.

Customers on prepayment meters often pay a higher price for their energy compared to those on a credit meter. They don’t qualify for cheaper tariffs and can’t take advantage of online energy discounts or the reduced rates offered to those who pay via Direct Debit.

Who can switch?

If you owe less than £500 to your current supplier and you are happy to change supplier then you should be able to switch.

If you don’t want to switch supplier and you owe them money then it’s quite likely that they will only switch you if clear any arrears you have with them.

The energy supplier is also likely to run a credit check on you to see if you will be able to keep up with repayments. Some energy suppliers also insist that you have a bank account and that you pay by Direct Debit.

Citizens Advice have a lot of useful information on their website.

How long does switching take?

It can take many weeks because of the credit checks and then you will have to wait to have a new meter fitted.

How much does it cost to switch?

That depends on the supplier you are moving to. The table in the download box tells you the cost for the main providers.  But don’t let the cost put you off because you may save more by switching that you do by staying with a prepayment meter.

How do I switch?

Each of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers has its own rules around the replacement of prepayment meters.  

A good start is to do an online energy price comparison via the websites below.  It is a good idea to have a copy of your latest energy bill before you start.