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Anyone up to speed with Pre-payment (key type) electricity supply?

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Myfordman

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I have a friend who just been allocated a semi sheltered council flat. it is one equipped with pull cords to summon assistance but not with a Warden on site.
The heating is storage radiators and the council charge a flat rate for heating all year round so I assume this is un metered.

The meter has a key in it and is showing credit of £50 ish and pressing a button on the meter only shows a single consumption register and a total which are near identical. further button presses show a tariff of 16.55 p per kWh
This seems very reasonable considering the comments about prepayment being an expensive way to buy energy.
I dont think the meter is smart in any way. Therefore I assume the tariff is stored in the key? Anyone confirm please.
If the key holds the tariff then I assume that when the key is taken to a shop to have more credit added, the latest price is updated too?

Are prepayment tariffs regulated? The current supplier is Utilita but doing a comparison the other two providers I was offered were both within £1 in £300. Maybe the is the energy price cap at work. Nevertheless the unit rate offered by all three were dearer than the apparent current rate of 16.55p

My friend is not that savvy so I'd like to glean enough knowledge to be able to advise them of the best way to proceed to minimise their energy costs.

Thanks in advance
 

Droogs

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The key holds all the setting information for the account and is updated when you buy credit units at a shop. Be aware that included in the bill calculations for not only the rate based on previous usage and frequency of topping up an annual charge for having the prepay meter is also included in your bill. Depending on the company this can be as high as £75 a year just because the prepay meter is there. If at all possible get it changed to a dry meter. I know plenty of people who have sat in the dark as they could not afford to top up or had a dispute with the supplier and the account was frozen. Some of the tales I have been told while doing QC follow up for Ofgen was truly sole destroying and cruel and has made me vow never to use certain vendors even if they paid me. Also if there is a major power outage to the sub area you are in and you just topped up with the full amount you will lose the lot and not be able to get it back. this happened to me twice in Aberdeen. pre pay meters are a cruel and un-neccessary evil inflicted on those least able to pay the inflated rates charged.
 

Myfordman

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I've already suggested coming off prepay but they have no credit history so might get refused.
I still don't understand how this separate fixed payment to the council for off peak heating when the meter does not have any off peak consumption register on it.
 

Spectric

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I've already suggested coming off prepay but they have no credit history so might get refused.
Offer to pay a deposit, an initial lump sum so you are in credit and they should change you over, also play the cannot always get to a shop to charge up my account due to age, health etc.
 

Richard_C

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Worth searching the offgem website, I think they have rules that suppliers should follow.
 

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