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To hate key meters?

(23 Posts)
RookieMonster Sat 16-Jan-16 08:18:28

We moved into a house with prepaid electric and gas meters and they are so expensive! We have never used them before - always been on direct debit payments.

Turns out we've been unknowingly paying a previous tenant's debt, so that will be sorted today. Ugh. We are also getting regular meters fitted next week.

But in a general sense, prepaid meters are the most expensive tariff, and usually levied against people living on the tightest budgets. I can understand their usefulness in recovering (the current tenant's) debt, but the standing charge and price per unit is very high as well! It all seems so... Well, unfair! Thankfully we have money to top up the meters and keep our house lit and warm, but I can imagine the struggle if we couldn't heat our home until payday. And it isn't like you can be without it and save money, because the standing charge gets applied whether you are using gas/elec or not!

topcat2014 Sat 16-Jan-16 08:22:13

Did the letting agent read the meters on changeover? If so, then you could speak to the electricity co about that.

I think there are some tariffs without a standing charge - but they might be more expensive per unit.

twinkletoedelephant Sat 16-Jan-16 08:23:51

We have gas and electric metres 2nd floor massionette. One of our meters is in the garden so we can't check on it the first thing I know its out is when it stops.
Its a walk along the building down 2 flights of stairs along side of large building to get to metre to put emergency on on. (£5)

We do try and remember to top it up weekly. But its more out of sight out of mind.

RookieMonster Sat 16-Jan-16 08:25:11

They topped up the meters before we got the keys, but we signed the contract on the 23rd Dec and didn't move in until the 28th so the standing charge and debt swallowed it up.

SaucyJack Sat 16-Jan-16 08:27:42

I like mine. They're not perfect no, but I much prefer being able to keep an eye on what I'm spending rather than running up a huge bill I can't afford to pay.

PeridotPassion Sat 16-Jan-16 08:28:18

Meters being a lot more expensive is often a myth.

We have meters for gas and electricity and pay exactly the same tariff as we would if we had a DD. We just don't get the 5% discount we would if we paid quarterly.

The meters were here when we moved in and we wrinkled our noses and thought it was awful and obviously wanted to get rid of them.

10 years later, they're still here and I flipping love them. I personally find them much easier than waiting and saving for a quarterly bill. We top them up once a month on payday, always put a bit extra in so that credit builds up in case of an expensive month.

You also frequently overpay (somehow) so once every couple of years we get a surprise cheque for a few hundred quid. The ease is worth losing a 5% discount to us.

GaryGilmoresEyes Sat 16-Jan-16 09:24:38

They are definitely more expensive. Apparently the consumer council are trying to get the energy providers to lower the rates/charges.
We moved into a house 6 months ago with a key meter. The previous tenants had run up a mahoosive bill and had to have them put in. Nobody told us they had skipped off leaving the debt on the meter. We have had months of having to prove we aren't the previous tenants to the supplier. Even my landlord got involved and then had to prove he wasn't related to us (who were obviously the previous tenants in disguise). It's all sorted now, the meter is reset and a lovely big cheque is on its way to me.
Plus a non key meter is being fitted.
They really are the work of the devil!

DyslexicScientist Sat 16-Jan-16 09:27:11

They are not more expensive. People just pay as they use it so higher amounts in winter.

Ofgem are not that useless. Although they are shit.

EssentialHummus Sat 16-Jan-16 09:32:03

Try Ovo Energy? I have a key meter in a rented property and found them cheaper.

TheoriginalLEM Sat 16-Jan-16 09:44:57

we had key meters forced on us years ago when we couldn't pay a bill. So it was pay the debt or freeze.

i like them because we don't end up with bills we can't pay. at least with the meters we can have heating if we are flush (dp self employed so erratic wages) and go without if skint. Now the debt iscleared we can mostly afford it when we need it.

it does make us use the gas more efficiently though. we never have it on during the day and have a log burner so save alot there. i must admit to having rung and queeried if the meter was right due to how expensive it is.


Hotpatootietimewarp Sat 16-Jan-16 09:52:54

I have a key meter for the electric (park ray fire in the living room heats the house). I Much prefer it to getting a huge bill every 3 months and I can keep an eye on my usage. In the summer I only put £20 on every 3 weeks and in the winter it is more like £20 every 2 weeks

Katedotness1963 Sat 16-Jan-16 10:09:14

The same thing happened to us! Paying off the bleeding landlords gas and electric debt. I only realized when we didn't use the gas for four days and the meter ran out. We got £27 back from the gas and over £70 on the electric from just a couple of months. Landlord, of course, had no idea they had debt on the meters...(it was their actual home, they moved to a job with accommodation and let out their home).

WoodleyPixie Sat 16-Jan-16 10:18:41

It's not more expensive. Our electric actually works out much cheaper. We used to pay £30 a month for electric in old house and often had calls to increase our dd by a few £ as was a shortfall. We now have a bigger house and more appliances and the key meter works out at about £4 a week. We put £20 on on payday and there's always money left over usually at least £5. Every so often it builds up enough we don't have to top up the electric.

The gas in winter when heating on from 4pm until 10pm and then in the morning 6-8. The gas is around £20 a week. In the summer we could get away with putting £10 a week on but we continue to put £20 on and let it build up.

I love not getting a bill and one less dd to worry about. The shop to top up is less than two minutes away so really not a problem.

If it has debt on the meters it's still not more expensive it's just taking an agreed amount for debt. I don't see how you wouldn't know as when you put the key in it says £?? For debt, £?? For gas/electric. We got ours changed to debt free within a week of moving in the company (sse) came out, I showed them the tenancy agreement and he changed it. He added on the credit used for debt while he was there.

GaryGilmoresEyes Sat 16-Jan-16 10:20:21

"Having a prepayment meter almost always means you will be paying more than you need to for your energy bills. Not only is the unit price for your energy more expensive with a prepayment meter, but the cheapest tariffs offered by suppliers are usually not made available to prepayment customers.
In addition to this, if you have an older style of meter then it may need to be updated with price changes manually. As energy companies will need to go round many different houses to do this, it could sometimes be months until your meter is updated- leaving you paying over the odds for your energy, or finding out that you actually owe money."
This is how we found out we were on the wrong payment when we lived in London and hence why I've always been sceptical about them. The EDF engineer admitted to me they were expensive when he fixed it.
This may not be the same for every one. It's just my own experience in having both prepaid and credit meters in the past, the prepaid have been more expensive. Although at the time living in a series of short term lets, it was better for us than the hassle of continuously changing accounts.
We currently have an electric meter, no gas as we are rural. We have a biomass boiler and should be getting solar panels and a little turbine thingymabob to create energy to put back into the grid and make some money back.

gamerwidow Sat 16-Jan-16 10:39:52

The daily standing charge and unit rate is usually more expensive for a key meter than for DD or quarterly bill. I agree this unfair because if you have a poor credit rating they're the only payment method you're allowed so it's a tax on being poor.
I think they're good for some people as it makes it easy to see what's going out each week but the benefit is more for the energy company than the consumer.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Sat 16-Jan-16 10:50:18

I'm another that loves them. They were here when we moved in too. We intended to get rid once was winter was over but never got round to it, we moved in in a cold October & had to completely gut the house so money was tight & I didn't want to worry about how much the heating was on. The amount we spend on them versus what we would via DD is negligible & I like that it's 2 less bills.

myusernamewastaken Sat 16-Jan-16 11:35:15

Ive never had them and wouldnt want them....seems like a faff to me to have to go to a shop to top them up....i would also drive myself nuts watching the money going down on the meter and would be forever switching things off.....

expatinscotland Sat 16-Jan-16 11:45:40

We've had them for years. A PITA at times, especially because our gas meter is also outside the building (first floor maisonette) and on the ground floor, but no big bills.

Doublebubblebubble Sat 16-Jan-16 11:51:42

I have two (gas and electric) both outside. I hate them. We, like you, paid for a previous tenants debt and whilst we did get the money back it was faff that we didn't need. You can switch them over so that you can pay by DD. When I did it it was £140 odd (£75 each) x
We were with eon x

Doublebubblebubble Sat 16-Jan-16 11:52:42

*£140 to switch them I mean. X

Usernamegone Sat 16-Jan-16 11:57:05

I moved into a house and had a key meter for electricity (no gas). I rang British Gas and asked to have a regular meter put in but they wanted to charge me £200! I refused and changed to another energy supplier who did it for free. I now pay by monthly DD (so no worries about big bills piling up) as I had always done before as I find it so much easier! I don't come home now after a 12 hour day at work and find that the freezer is defrosting!

My electricity bill is still cheaper now five years later than when I was on a key meter!

lazyarse123 Sat 16-Jan-16 12:03:18

We have both gas and electric i love them, there is no way i could pay 2 huge bills every 3 months,(not good at saving) and dd are awkward as i get paid 4weekly. We changed to ovo energy 5 weeks ago and are already saving money.

Hotpatootietimewarp Sat 16-Jan-16 13:28:07

Also it must depend on your provider, I switched from Scottish hydro after eon told me they would be cheaper, I was putting money on the meter every week (£10) and it wasn't lasting the whole week. I switched back to Scottish hydro and as stated up thread in my previous post I'm much better off as the money lasts longer

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