Run an energy comparison and save an average of £216*
*You could save an average of £216: Between 1 July and 31 December 2020, people who have switched energy supplier for both gas and electricity with Uswitch saved an average of £216.
For the simple reason of saving money. Finding new energy deals can be difficult – and doubly so if you’re on a prepayment meter – but armed with an energy comparison tool like Money.co.uk, you can make light work of finding a better deal.
Most people don’t really know how much they should be spending on their energy, and the only way to find out if you’re getting good value or not is to compare it with the alternatives. By comparing prices across a range of UK energy suppliers, you can better understand what the best deal is and save money.
A prepayment energy meter is a type of meter that requires you to pay for energy before you use it. You can do this in the form of top-ups either online or in person.
Prepayment meters are primarily used to avoid falling into energy debt. Energy is paid for in advance, so your supplier doesn’t have to worry about missed payments, while you only pay for the energy that you use. They’re also favoured by landlords in rented homes as it removes the risk of tenants not paying bills. Customers who have repeatedly missed payments may also be placed on a prepayment meter by their energy supplier to ensure they only use energy they pay for and to help pay off energy debt. With all this in mind, prepayment meters aren’t ideal for the standard home.
Depending on your supplier and meter type, prepayment meter top-ups can be done online or in person at any shop (including the post office) that offers the service. Your meter will have a unique key that will allow your credit to be topped up remotely.
No, prices on prepayment meters can vary just like any other energy plan, which is why running a price comparison is so important.
We cover a huge range of suppliers so you can find the very best deals. In addition to the big six energy suppliers, other providers who support prepayment tariffs include:
There is no single cheapest prepayment energy supplier – it varies from region to region, so you should always search by postcode and run an energy price comparison to find the cheapest for you.
Yes, you can have both gas and electricity on a prepayment meter.
Prepayment meters mean you only pay for the energy you use, so there’s no chance of overspending. If you are in a situation where you can’t budget for monthly bills, then a prepayment meter can help manage your money.
Sadly, yes - prepayment meters are almost always more expensive than both fixed price and variable energy plans. This is because customers on prepayment meter energy plans are viewed as less reliable payers than those paying by monthly direct debit.
Yes, but this depends on your circumstances. If you’ve just moved home and found that the property has a prepayment meter then you should be able to change back to a standard meter quite easily, subject to a credit check if you opt for monthly direct debit. If you were placed on a prepayment meter by your supplier then it may be more difficult – you’ll need to pay any outstanding debt and have improved your credit score.
There are several things you can do to improve your credit score:
Get on the electoral roll.
Apply for a low limit credit card and always pay it off to build up your score.
Close any credit accounts you don’t use.
If your energy supplier has gone bust, Ofcom will move you to a new provider. This means there will be no interruption to your service, but it may lead to you paying more than you are currently. If your provider has recently gone bust, start an energy comparison right away and get yourself on the best priced plan.
An IHD is an ‘in home display’ that gives you a clear picture of how much energy you are using and the cost. These devices help you keep track of your costs and usage so you can know if you’re keeping to your energy budget or not. Find out more about energy monitors here.
You can make an energy switch at any time but check first to see if any exit fees apply to your tariff. As you’re on a standard variable plan, this shouldn’t be the case. Also note you’ll end up with a new top-up key or card, so be sure to use all the credit on your existing card before you switch to the new one.
You may be able to change energy suppliers in a rented property. If your landlord agrees, you can change from a prepayment meter to a standard meter, but you may need to switch back (and pay for the cost of doing so) when you move out.
No – like smart meters, it should not cost you anything to have a prepayment meter installed. However, having a standard meter installed to replace a prepayment meter may cost you money depending on your supplier.
If your prepayment meter and supplier support online top-ups, you should be able to do so from your phone using a mobile app. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to dip into your emergency credit, which is usually around £5 and will see you through the night or until you can get to a shop and top up. You will need to pay back this credit – it’ll be deducted from your next top-up. Not paying back this debt is likely to lead to your service being suspended.
Contact your supplier and ask for a new one. You might be charged for this, though, so try to keep it safe.
This depends on whether your supplier offers this service - those that do so include:
Having this option may depend on having a certain model of meter installed or being contracted to a particular energy plan, so contact your provider if you want to make sure you can top up online.
You can change energy supplier once every 28 days, though it's best to run a price comparison and get it right the first time.