Can I remove a prepayment meter?
Published 4 April 2016 by Emily Bancroft
It might be nothing to do with you, but getting it removed can be tricky.
For energy customers, being on a prepayment meter can mean that gas and electricity bills are likely to be more expensive and for those on a low income, it can make it really difficult to make ends meet. Prepayment meters are installed by energy companies if you’re in arrears on your gas or electricity payments but will you be able to get the meter removed?
It might be the case that you’ve had problems paying your energy bills in the past but you don’t anymore but will you be able to switch to a standard credit meter? Let’s take a look at the rules.
When you’re in arrears
If you’ve been put onto a prepayment meter because you’ve missed gas or electricity bill payments in the past, it’s likely you’ll have some difficulty getting your energy supplier to remove it. You’ll have to contact them and ask them if you can move to a credit meter – you won’t be able to change the meter yourself. Your energy supplier will then run a credit check on you and decide whether you fulfil the criteria to move to a standard meter.
However, if you’ve only recently had problems with paying your gas or electricity bills on time, your supplier is unlikely to agree to remove your prepayment meter. This is because they could see your finances as still being unstable and they might want to wait until you’ve had an extended period of staying in control of your money before they decide to let you move to a standard credit meter.
But if you’ve been making payments on time for a while, your supplier may agree to remove your prepayment meter and install a credit meter instead. Depending on the supplier, they may charge you for this. However, it’s still worth considering – you may find that the amount you’d be able to save on a standard tariff would outweigh the cost of the meter installation.
There when you moved in
Sometimes, having a prepayment meter might be nothing to do with you and your finances – for example, if you move into a property and there was already one installed. If this is the case, you should be able to get it removed, so get in touch with your energy supplier to arrange this.
Your provider may charge you for the cost of removing the prepayment meter and the installation of the standard meter. However, if you’re moving into a rented flat, it’s possible that your landlord will pay this fee.
The supplier may also be willing to waive the cost of the meter installation if you sign up to one of their standard tariffs – that way, they’ll be able to ensure you remain a customer for the near future.