Around 5.9 million people in the UK have a prepayment meter, and as the name would suggest, these meters mean you have to pay for your gas and electricity before you use it, a bit like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. As long as you have credit on your meter, you’ll be supplied with gas and electricity. When the credit runs out, you’ll need to top up before your energy supply is switched on again.
There are three main types of prepayment meters:
Meters are be topped up by taking your key, card or token to a Post Office or local Paypoint or Payzone (usually a corner shop). The device must be inserted into the meter for gas and electricity to become available, so it’s important it’s kept safe.
Prepayment gas meters will only have a single rate, so you’ll pay the same price for it regardless of when it's used. Prepayment electricity meters will take one of two forms:
Prepayment meters are usually installed in homes when the occupiers have slipped into debt with their energy supplier. This kind of meter makes it easier to budget, and to avoid unexpected bills. People that have a prepayment meter because of outstanding debts will be paying off their debt alongside their gas and electricity, so they’ll be paying for a little more than they’re actually using.
If you move into a property with a prepayment meter, you must inform your supplier immediately, otherwise you could end up inadvertently paying off the previous occupant’s debt.
Some landlords opt to have meters installed in their properties to help avoid their tenants running into debt.
In a word: yes. The unit price for your energy is more expensive with a prepayment meter, and the cheapest tariffs offered by suppliers are not usually available to prepayment customers. Plus, older style meters need to be updated with price changes manually, so it could sometimes take months before your meter charges the correct amount, potentially leaving you out of pocket.
Yes, and it’s a good idea to do so, but remember, not all suppliers support prepayment meters and some may charge a fee for transferring their services to your home.
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to switch from a prepayment meter until your debt is cleared. If you’re not, or if you’ve just moved into a property with a meter, then you should contact your supplier to enquire about switching to a standard meter, although bear in mind some may charge you for this.
Some suppliers will also request that you meet certain conditions first, such as having a current account, or being debt-free for a number of months.
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OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.