Great 'Energy pre-payment meter issues' Hunt

Former_MSE_Lee Posts: 343 Forumite
edited 25 January 2011 at 4:21PM in Energy
Great 'Pre-payment energy meters - your issues' Hunt

My (Martin) New Year's resolution is to work harder on finding solutions for those with prepayment meters to save. To help me, as part of my research, I'd love to know what issues you've faced and any solutions you've found. eg, faulty meters, difficulty in switching to a billed meter or different provider

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  • There are so many things that you miss out on if you have pre-payment meters. :mad:
    Recent "promotions" include the free Nectar Points (BG customers exc those on pre-payment meters) and also these new fangled energy monitors.
    Over 12 months ago BG had said that they would send me one of those extension lead things to try and cut my emissions. I never received one and every time I called, they were OOS :exclamati
    I telephoned them this morning to ask if I could have one of the energy monitors instead and was told by a lady that they would not work for pre-payment customers and basically, if I was that bothered - check my pre-payment meter!?
    I have logged an official complaint and was advised that I should receive a managers' callback within 4 hours.
    I guess its' now a case of watch this space.......
  • Prepayment meters are great if you are on a fixed budget and you find you don't waste energy the same :j
  • i do agree that it could help with people on a budget as you never get a big bill and also that it helps you be more concious about what you are using but i have two small children and have been without power on a few occasions over the 2 years.

    when i firset moved in the previous person had a debt of £50. i dont understand how this came about as i thought that was the point of the machine but anyway i was told i had to put the money on and when they could verify it was not my debt they would send me a card with the money on!!!

    other times, once when my card stopped working and twice when my credit has run out when my children were very ill i have been left without power and they wont accept payment over the phone and got me to go to the shop numerous times before they would send someone out when my card stopped working.

    i wish that i could change to a normal monthly bill but it costs a fortune to change!
  • I applied for a top up machine so I could top up at home instead of going to the shops. I asked for one last September,it didn't arrive by November so asked again and it was apparently sent out to me (the first one I ordered was also sent out) But I never received either of them so they say they are sending me a third one this week! I hope it turns up because when the weather was bad I could have done with it and don't want to be in the same situation again.
  • When I moved into my flat, the British Gas pre-pay meter key was showing money on it. I wanted to change over to a credit meter on a better tariff with nPower, but they told me that I would need to be a customer with them for over a year before they would install a credit meter.

    Eventually I had to stick with British Gas who were prepared to install a credit meter free of charge. However, the money starting running out on the key, and after topping up by £15 it was still on 98p. They are only meant to be able to go £5 into the emergency, but somehow the last occupier of my flat had left it £11 in debt!

    I called British Gas twice on the Sunday night to explain I'd put £15 on, and that they were installing a credit meter on the Wednesday but I was going to run out of electricity. The first person I spoke to said "wow, you've got problems" and had NO IDEA what was going on. The second person I spoke to told me that 1) I had somehow "sent the money" back to British Gas through the meter and 2) if an engineer came out to see what the problem was and there was any money at all left on the key, I would be charged a £98 call out fee .

    I waited until the following morning when the electricity finally ran out, then called again and spoke to someone useful again, who explained I was still (somehow) in the emergency credit and I would have to put another £2 on! Once the new credit meter was installed they would refund me with the total amount of money I'd added to the meter.

    It worked this time, but what a massive hassle! I understand prepay meters are good for private landlords who don't want to be left with huge bills from previous tenants who might not pay, but why do companies allow the key to go into so much debt?
  • elliep_2
    elliep_2 Posts: 711
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    When I moved into my home I found the prepay meter was in debt by £200 which it was deducting at the rate of £2 at midnight every night. Fortunately I called BG the day I moved in to tell them the house and meter were now mine. At that point I didn't know about the debt but after a couple of days I noticed and called to ask about it. They explained that the previous homeowners had the prepayment meter forcibly installed after refusal to pay bills, The metre was set up to recover the debt whilst allowing the family to maintain power in the home.

    Fortunately I didn't have too much trouble with all of this because I had called them on the day I moved in, they were able to track which payments I had put on the machine and refunded me all of the debt recovery money since my first payment (the day I moved in). They also checked my credit file and then came to fit a normal metre at no cost to me when I asked them to.

    The situation would have been a lot more complicated and I may not have got all my money back if I hadn't called them on the day I moved in. So my big tip would be to call the energy supplier as soon as you can to tell them you are the new occupier and that you wish to take over responsibility for the metre. They then have the ability to zero everything, you don't get the previous tennant's credit but you also don't get their debt. Most of the suppliers will send you out a new key/card to help them seperate your account from the previous one, so ask them what you should do in the meantime if you need to top up and have not yet got the new key or card.
  • I hate the cost of the cards. 8.00 if you lose one its a rip off.

    I will say that when ever i have moved into a new place with debt on the meter british gas have always been the best. The last time was a few months back and there was over 20.00 debt on the gas and almost the same on the electric, they gave me a number to take down the local shop to pick up a card for free with the debt amount on, an said i would just have to pay the 8.00 for a new card. When i got there i followed the instructions put on the 8.00 plus an extra 7.00 an when i got home there was 15.00 on the card. Not just 7.00 (minus 8.00 for the new card.

    I do agree theat the customer services are usually less than helpful when you are on a meter and if you are unable to get to a pay point and have bo moneuly on your meter then you are stumped. I also dont pike that when your meter runs out of money ( emergecny credit included) you have to pay off the emergency and a couple of extra on top.
  • We have a prepayment meter in our rented house. Although we've lived there 6 years and would pass credit checks for a normal meter, the landlord would rather us keep the card meters.

    My confusion came when I changed the meters from Scottish Power to Southern Electric. I got new cards from the new provider and used the credit on the old cards and posted them back to them as asked. The a few weeks later got a bill from Scottish Power saying we owed £26. I called and said had to be a mistake, we are on a prepay meter that we always keep in credit so how could this be right? I couldn't get an answer of how this debt could have come about, one call operator even suggested it was because we topped up by £50 a time and the system was not designed for that - LUDICROUS!!!

    I was even at one point told that it was only £26 so I shouild just pay it as it wasn't very much!

    Needless to say, I held my ground and it eventually got wavered. The meters may work for some, but for me they are a MASSIVE pain. Maybe i'll ask the landlord again if we can switch?
  • As far as I know, pre-payment meters are usually more expensive, so the best solution I know of is to go with EBI Co, who charge everyone the same regardless of how you pay, whether you pay by direct debit or just monthly bills or pre-payment cards.
    They're a lot cheaper than most (if not all) other electricity/gas companies too. They're very good.
    (And no, I don't work for them or anything.)
  • I have been landed with a pre-payment meter which is not in use. Just before Christmas I discovered that I am being charged a weekly fee for it to sit there and do absolutely nothing. Outrageous! It will no doubt cost me a fortune to have the thing removed and they probably won’t remove it if I don’t pay the ridiculous outstanding fee for it having sat there unused for over a year. I am not amused. :mad:
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