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Anyone had a gas and electric prepayment meter removed?

(17 Posts)
grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 21:50:44

I have prepayment gas and electric meters left over after my tenant has moved out. I guess the tenant was in debt so the company changed them (without my permission or knowledge if that makes a difference). I've spoken to the utility company and they want £345 to remove them, seriously. Letting agent says I can take it out of tenants deposit but seems ridiculous.

I've tried the energy ombudsman to see if this is normal but they are experiencing exceptionally high call volumes so no joy. I could always keep them as prepayment meters but the agent says it puts people off, it would definately put me off.

Anyone know anything about this?

Thanks

Chiliprepper Wed 13-Apr-16 21:54:12

We've just bought a flat with them, apparently a lot of energy companies will change them for free and some charge a smallish amount (50quid or so). We were left with a huge debt from the previous owner but just rang the supplier and they sent us a prepaid card to wipe the debt, it was a faff but happily resolved!

grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 21:54:24

The £345 is broken down into £100 deposit for each meter that I will get back if the account stays in credit for 12 months (I don't live there and plan to rent it out once I've done it up so I don't know how they make sense of that) so that's £200 then £79 to change electric and £66 or something like that to change the gas one. I will get the £200 back apparently but i'm not comfortable with that arrangement.

FuzzyOwl Wed 13-Apr-16 21:55:28

The utility company, by law, can enforce any payment method they wish regardless of the wishes of the owner of the property (Ombudsman Services: Energy are unable to force this). However, now your utility company know that the tenants have moved out of the house, and you are the person responsible, you will be free to change supplier and then ask the new supplier to exchange your prepayment meters for credit ones.

FuzzyOwl Wed 13-Apr-16 21:56:20

*change this, not force this

NinkyNonky Wed 13-Apr-16 21:56:42

They don't need your permission or knowledge to change the meter as it belongs to the company. £345 is an awful lot of money to have them removed! Which supplier is it? There are a few suppliers who will do it for free as long as you pass a credit check.

grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 21:57:17

Thanks for your reply
I've got an account in my name now with a new key and card - they said not to touch the tenants - and that any new tenant woukd do the same so multiple accounts registered against my property. The man said that it's going to take the tenant a long time to pay her account off.....don't suppose he should of told me that really.

I may 'shop around' them and see if I move to them on the meters what they charge to remove them

grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 22:02:04

Wow that's loads of good info
The company is first utility, never heard of it until yesterday.
I'll ring my residential address supplier tomorrow and see what they say, it's all very confusing (Im an accidental landlord, not really cut out for this at all)

Trills Wed 13-Apr-16 22:02:34

If you are renting it out, why not leave it as prepayment?

I say this as a person who is currently renting, and has prepayment meters, and dislikes them. It's annoying for me but I can understand why my landlord chose them (they had old tenants who buggered off and left them with a large bill).

FuzzyOwl Wed 13-Apr-16 22:02:42

The tenant's key/card probably has a fixed weekly charge attached to it, so if you use it then it will deduct money you have paid towards the debt. Once you register your new key/card, then they will be the current and active ones moving forward. A new supplier will have to supply you for a minimum of 28 days before arranging the appointment for credit meters to be installed - this is because it takes a while for all of the electronic flows to transfer between suppliers and for the meter operative (electricity) and national grid or independent gas transporter (gas) to be up to date. However, after this has happened, there is no reason to refuse you or charge you for the meter exchange.

grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 22:04:54

Ok, so keeping it as prepayment meters is an option then. That's a good point as it will avoid debts being built up in the future, ill have a chat with the new agent.

Thanks

grounddown Wed 13-Apr-16 22:06:43

Thanks FuzzyOwl you seem very knowledgeable

NinkyNonky Wed 13-Apr-16 22:14:34

There's some useful information about who changes for free on money saving expert...

www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/switch-prepaid-gas-electricity#try

Lots of rental properties have pp meters though, and don't forget that the tenant can arrange for them to be changed as long as they pass the credit check.

vswitchusave Mon 17-Oct-16 07:32:44

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ineedamoreadultieradult Mon 17-Oct-16 07:44:05

I work for an energy company and rented properties with credit meters can be a nightmare for landlords especially if the tenants change frequently. I would keep the PP meters it will be so much easier to manage. Just remember never use the tenants cards and always ring to update when people are moving out and in.

specialsubject Mon 17-Oct-16 09:26:24

Debts go with people, not houses. As mentioned, contact the supplier at each tenant change to close off the account and make sure debts are not passed on.

Small suppliers such as the one you mentioned can be a real nightmare, and never take up the one suggested by the agent.

I have reported the spam post above.

milkyface Mon 17-Oct-16 09:40:33

We bought a house and the prev owner had a massive debt on her gas so a pre payment meter went in. We ended up laying her debt off partially because British Gas wouldn't believe we weren't her, even though there are two of us, one of us being a man, and we sent them copies of our deeds, birth certificates etc etc.

After I complained and after about a year they payed me back, I asked them to out a credit meter in. They said no you've got bad credit (I'd just bought a house so I can assume it was the mortgage lenders checks that put them off?)

Anyway I swapped to npower (mistake!) and asked them to change it. They wanted £60. I didn't want to pay £60 so I told them that. They asked me If I had any children, I told them I was pregnant (true) and they wavered the charge and swapped to a credit meter.

Then I was sneaky and left them for (much cheaper) first utility.

I think if you have tenants its up to you whether you want to change it back, but bare in mind it does make bills a lot more expensive for anyone who rents your house out.

I personally would change it but wouldn't want to pay, so if you know you have tenants who have children or are elderly say that and the should be able to do it for free.

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