We recently moved house. It is my dream house. A two-story Victorian terrace on a quiet road of other families close to town. It has three generously-sized bedrooms, two reception rooms and a ginormous kitchen. It had recently had a total refurb including a brand new kitchen!
It was perfect...save for one small thing (well, minus the odd bailiff that shows up looking for the previous occupant)....
...the utilities were all metered. Gas, electric and water all on a meter. Now, the water isn't such a big deal, it's probably better for us, however pre-pay gas and electricity is notoriously more expensive than credit meters. My first flat was on an electric key and although I managed my time and money wisely, I still found it a very stressful method of using electricity.
Electricity is powered by a key and gas a card. Pre-pay energy can require a massive amount of faff trudging about looking for somewhere that does it...not everywhere tops them up...it's usually corner shops and I think maybe the post office. Supermarkets do not offer this service so it is far from convenient. Some providers are now offering devices for their prepay customers so that they can top up through the Internet. How they work is you receive a reader for your payment method (key or card) which then plugs into our computer via USB, allowing you to top up using a credit or debit card online. While this is easier, it makes it no cheaper.
As parents of a toddler and with a baby on the way, we were concerned about having to monitor our utility usage so closely and so decided to change our meters o the credit method that we were accustomed to. Our meters were changed free of charge by British Gas who were very efficient,
Below is a quick and basic step-by-step guide to changing your meters from pre-pay to credit.
- If you are in rented accommodation, you will need to ask the permission of the landlord to change the meters. If you think that they're likely to oppose your request, write a list of pros to put to them in your initial 'pitch' so that you can effectively sell it to them. Things like it being more reliable and cheaper are good to start with but also mention that it will be more attractive for any future prospective tenants. If you have quite a grumpy landlord, maybe consider a list of cons that they might put to you so that you can prepare a defence,
- Once you have permission, find out who our suppliers are (if you don't already know). It's usually written on your key/card but if not, here is a list of the appropriate numbers you can call that I found in a simple Google search. Alternatively you can call the supplier you would like to be with and ask them to find out for you. You will need your meter serial numbers for this.
- Once you've established who your supplier is/is going to be, you need to tell them that you would like your meters to be changed from prepay to credit. Some suppliers charge for this service but not all so if your supplier is one of this kind then tell them you will take your business to another supplier. This may sway them to do it for you for free, it may not, either way, there are better deals out there to be had.
- They will most likely run a credit check on you. HOWEVER if you have previously held a credit account with them at a former address, they will still have your details on file and this will work in your favour (a great peace of mind for those with any concerns in regards to credit), so long as your paid your bills on time/had a good relationship with your provider.
- Your supplier will arrange a time and date to come and change your meters over for you (usually a couple of weeks in advance). You will need to be present. Your engineer will also test the safety and the efficiency of your supply once he has installed your new meters.
- Once your meters are installed and registered on your suppliers system you can then choose your payment method (we prefer monthly direct debit...we end up paying more than we need through the summer but it provides a comfortable buffer in the winter when we use more).
- Once you're up and running, it's worth checking your tariff on a price-comparison website to ensure that you're getting the best deal that's out there so that you are not over-paying for your supply. Try to get a deal that locks you in at a certain price for a fixed term, that way you will be unaffected by any sudden rises in rates from your supplier.
Labels: electric, energy, gas, life, Money saving, thrifty