Three Things Students need to know about Prepaid Meters

Prepaid Meter

Three Things Students need to know about Prepaid Meters

Prepaid meters enable you to use energy on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. You’ll have a key, card or token which will need topping up (you can do this at stores such as your local Post Office) to keep your energy supply going. Despite its benefits, a prepaid meter can be more expensive than having a standard meter, so make sure you consult with your landlord and shop around in order to get the best price and payment-routine for you!


Regular Payment

If you forget to top up your account balance your energy supply does get cut off, so it’s really important to stay alert regarding how much credit you have left. The thought of living in igloo-like conditions through the winter is not a pleasant one, so stay on top of those trips to top up. Also account for the fact that you’ll be using much more energy during the winter, and spend that bit extra on your payments during these chilly months. Just in case, make sure you’re prepared for worst-case scenarios by stocking up on candles and thermals, or by making friends with your neighbours! On the plus side, by paying more regularly for your gas and electric, you’re less likely to be confronted by scarily-large quarterly bills than you are with a standard meter. This way it’s easier to incorporate your bills into a weekly or monthly budgeting scheme.


Standing Charge

Included in your prepaid meter’s rate is a daily standing charge, which will continue (even at a very low rate) if you go away and leave the property empty. Ensure that you don’t go into your emergency credit by accident because you’ve not left enough credit on your meter in this situation. Most suppliers will provide a few pounds worth of emergency credit, but it is best to avoid playing payment-catch up after you return, and think ahead. This way you’ll not fall behind or into debt, and can have a hassle-free return to a house with functioning appliances when you get back!


Top-Up Card

When you move into a new place, make sure you get a new top up card for your prepaid meter. If you use the existing one that belonged to the old tenant you could end up paying for someone else’s energy consumption! Once you’ve got yours—whether it’s a card, key or token—keep it safe. There’s typically a £10 replacement charge, and some companies (like EDF for example) won’t transfer your existing payments onto the new card, so you could potentially lose money that way too.