Prepayment meter

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If the standing charge covers the supply of gas or electricity to a property, when that supply is turned off due to lack of credit on the meter why does the standing charge still add to the debt on the meter on a daily basis?

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  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 2,055 Forumite
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    edited 2 February 2023 at 10:31AM
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    Because the meter hasn't been disconnected from the energy or gas supply - the property is still being supplied.
  • Jon74
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    I understand that but in no other business would you be expected to pay for a service that you are no longer recieving
  • GingerTim
    GingerTim Posts: 2,055 Forumite
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    You are still receiving the service, though i.e. the meter can supply gas or electricity again when it is topped up. The only way to avoid the standing charge is disconnection from the supply.
  • Jon74
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    A friend of mine recently spent a few weeks in hospital when she got out she had over £40 debt on both her gas and electricity meters plus a lot of rotten food in her freezer, seems an unfair system that she was put into debt for a service that she couldn't and wasn't using
  • EssexHebridean
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    This is an advantage of smart prepayment meters - your friend would have been able to top up remotely in that situation which would have prevented her going off supply. 

    I'm confused how she amassed £40 of debt per meter though - perhaps another user with more knowledge on prepay can clarify, but I thought you had to select to go on to emergency credit, and that was then a limited amount after which the supply went off? £40 just for the standing charges would have been nearly 3 months on the electricity meter, and around 4 months for gas. 
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  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    Even with no credit or usage, the supplier still has to maintain the network, provide the emergency service, bill you, read the meter etc. These fixed costs are still there.
    You might as well argue that the council shouldn't charge you C. Tax for street lighting if you don't go out at night. or road maintenance if you don't drive.
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