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To think it is amoral of energy suppliers to charge the least well off the highest tarif?

(37 Posts)
frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:15:01

I have known this for years and do not have a prepaid meter myself , but aibu to be disgusted on others behalf?

frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:15:44

Also clearly should haveput immoral in the thread title , doh!

Andrewofgg Mon 17-Oct-11 21:16:02

Depends. Does it reflect the high cost of administering prepaid meters? If so YABU.

Dawndonna Mon 17-Oct-11 21:16:41

Amoral in the sense that no-one has made a judgement?
I think it's immoral, myself.

Meglet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:19:09

yanbu. I am fortunate that I can pay by direct debit and don't have to use a pre-payment meter.

Those meters are the work of the devil and keep the least well off locked into high-energy prices and more likely to end up in fuel poverty.

SecretNutellaFix Mon 17-Oct-11 21:20:24

High cost of administering meters?

Andrew, don't be so ridiculous. They don't get read, therefore don't have that cost. Credits are purchased electronically at various retailers, so nope, they don't even have to do that.

It is completely immoral.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 17-Oct-11 21:23:14

It is immoral. The energy is being prepaid, so the supplier has no worry of default. Also, I live in Northern Ireland, I pay my electricity via prepaid meter and as a result, it costs 2.5% less than if I got a bill. If NIE can do it, I do not see why other suppliers can.

frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:24:49

To me it just feels like they are saying 'its clearly your fault you are poor ,therefore just to kick you when you are down ,we are going to charge you an absolute fortune for your gas and electric . It is also very expensive for people to get off a prepaid meter , the companies charge up to £350 to remove the meter and put back conventional meter . I have actually seen this done and it took the man approximately 10 minutes to do .

BloodandSCRUMatron Mon 17-Oct-11 21:25:30

<repeats self> not all supplier charge more for pp meters. not all suppliers have a standing charge on pp meters.

Andrewofgg Mon 17-Oct-11 21:28:27

I know that SecretNutellaFix but the system of selling credits costs money - the retailers take a cut. It costs a lot more than taking readings by phone or online and collecting by dd. Both dd and prepaid customers get a (very occasional) visit to check that the meter is in good nick and safe so the cost is the same in both cases. You and Meglet are being unrealistic.

frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:34:13

So andrewofgg why can the energy supplier in northern ireland ,supply energy cheaper to their pp meter customers ?
BloodandSCRUMatron thats interesting , sorry i didnt realise you had said it before ,can you tell me which suppliers charge standard tarrifs on pp meters and also which dont charge for their removal ?

LittleMissFlustered Mon 17-Oct-11 21:34:20

Andrew The standing charge (where levied) is meant to cover those costs, but the price per unit of the gas and electricity is also often much higher than for those who can/choose to pay by alternative means. That is the part that many feel is immoral.

I choose a meter because I can't guarantee that I will have a given amount in my bank account on a certain day each month to cover a fluctuating direct debit. I am penalised for not wanting to be in debt. That doesn't make sense to mesad

whackamole Mon 17-Oct-11 21:39:06

When we moved into this house (bought 4 years ago) it had pre-payment meters with ManPower. Our previous rented house had monthly direct debit meters with the same company.

I asked if we could switch - they said our credit rating was too low and they would charge us (IIRC) in the region of £250 per meter to swap them. This would be refunded in 2 years 'if we kept up with the bills'.

It's really upsetting that due to the economic climate, our credit rating which at the level it is now might have been ok then but isn't now, so we can't switch. I can't afford £500 to switch the meters but I can afford a DD.

The other galling thing was the quotes they gave me for new bills - £45 PCM for gas and electricity we paid in the rented house and owed about £25 on the gas when we moved, which I paid immediately. They said they wouldn't let us pay less than £90 a month for both in the new house - despite us not having gas central heating which we did in the rental property!

We are on a fairly good tariff at the moment, but I know I should look into it. I just find it very difficult to compare them as obviously we don't get bills which outline which plan we are on.

Hullygully Mon 17-Oct-11 21:42:46




BloodandSCRUMatron Mon 17-Oct-11 21:43:19

frumpet you would need to call around and check each supplier tbh, all suppliers have different prices and diffferent tarriffs available in each distribution area. The only one I know definitely charges the same for each meter is SSE (southern, atlantic, swalec and hydro)

smokinaces Mon 17-Oct-11 21:46:33

I have switched between key meters and normal meters over the last 12 years of buying and renting and never once been charged for doing so.

Also, I may be on a key and prepaying, but from doing checks online (I am EDF and I get a dual fuel discount) it is only costing me £75 more a year to do so. And in fact I reckon I save that by a) paying in cash when I am on a limited budget and b) knowing exactly what is costing me money and when and being more aware of my fuel consumption.

I have had the opportunity several times in the last 2.5 years of living here with key meters to change, but after looking into it all have found they arent as bad as they used to be. They are actually very good for budgeting, and several companies give you a dual fuel discount and charge you very little difference to a DD. You have to shop around like with anything, but I pay about £6 a week electric and £4 a week gas at the moment for a 3 bed house. Most its been is in the depth of that snow last year when it was £15 a week gas and £10 a week electric - not really any different to my friends on DD, again maybe even better as I am so aware of my fuel consumption. It also means I can pay weekly with my tax credits (my salary is monthly and used for childcare) and keep on top of my budget.

smokinaces Mon 17-Oct-11 21:48:27

whackamole I get quarterly and yearly bills from EDF. Well, statements. It tells me what tariff I am on, how much I have used, compared to last year etc etc.

In fact I have been really impressed with EDF, their customer service and their customer rewards, even for us lowly prepayment meter customers.

SuePurblybiltFromBitsofCorpses Mon 17-Oct-11 21:51:43

It is crap. I don't much mind being stuck with one supplier. I don't much mind having to top it up. I do mind being stung on the cost per unit and being charged a standing fee for appliances (night storage heaters on a whole other meter) that I can't even afford to use, because of said cost per unit.

There are all sorts of discrepancies in utility charges - I can't get cheap broadband as I live rurally, for example. I live in the SW so I pay £590 pa for water. But the pre-payment thing is just discriminating across the board against the people who can least afford it and have the least power to object or change.

gethelp Mon 17-Oct-11 21:51:49

It's appalling.

frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 21:58:57

I certainly dont think that if you move into a property that already has the pp meters and you dont want them ,you should be charged to change them .
hully i get that they are simply about making a profit ,i do . Its just i think they should be made to charge fairly across the board .

frumpet Mon 17-Oct-11 22:00:47

Im also not against pp meters as a method of budgeting for those on a limited income , if thats what they choose .

slavetofilofax Mon 17-Oct-11 22:36:25


Why shouldn't people have to pay to change to the type of meter they prefer? Those things cost money, and they have to pay someone to come and do the work. I'd rather the price was paid by those who want or need to make the change, rather than those cost being reflected in everyone elses bills.

Energy companies are businesses, they have shareholders to satisfy. And rightly so. That's not worth complaining about, it's just part of the society we live in.

The fact that they are a business is also the reason why people with bad credit (not always those on very low incomes) have to pre pay. What sort of business is going to give away their product and just hope for the best when the bill needs to be paid? confused That would just be silly. Especially when you consider that they have to then pay out even more money to get back what they were originally owed.

Pre pay meters are a brilliant thing for those who need them.

And if people are on a very low income, they get cold weather payments, so they don't even have to pay for their own heating.

SausageGoulsAndFruitSpooks Mon 17-Oct-11 22:44:21

We've just moved into a house with a pre-payment meter already installed.

I want it taken out but they want £200 off us to have it removed. We can't afford that at the moment.

In my old place we where paying £25 a month by DD. Now we're paying almost that per week with this stupid meter. Why is it so expensive? sad

troisgarcons Mon 17-Oct-11 22:58:10

I would assume tariffs are set to reflect
(a) dd customers pay in advance of thei quarterly bill
(b) discount for billing on line thus reducing paper
(c) paying corner shops etc for the technogy etc to be for ever topping up keys at a fiver a time.

None of this stuff come free. Everything has a price.

smokinaces Mon 17-Oct-11 23:06:39

Sausage that's not right surely. I am pp key and pay the same roughly as friends and family in similar housing on bills. Have you checked they aren't still taking for a previous owners debt?

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