More than 0.5 m new prepayment meters in U.K. last year


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — July 3, 2007 – More than 502,000 new electricity and gas prepayment meters were installed in the U.K. during 2006, the energy regulator Ofgem has reported.

In its company performance monitoring report for 2006, which collates information from domestic suppliers on payment methods, debt and disconnections, Ofgem states that in 2006 there were 262,650 new prepayment electricity meters and 239,709 new prepayment gas meters, and of these approximately two-thirds were installed for the recovery of debt, while the remaining one-third were requested by customers without debt. The largest number of prepayment electricity meters was installed by Powergen – 43,200 for the recovery of debt and 38,595 to debt-free customers – while the largest number of prepayment gas meters was installed by British Gas – 94,921 for the recovery of debt and 36,655 to debt-free customers.

Over the same period 193,226 prepayment electricity customers and 140,850 prepayment gas customers changed to credit terms, with no customers not in debt being refused such terms.

During 2006 1,258 electricity customers and 3,859 gas customers were disconnected for debt, with 39 percent being reconnected within 7 days and 51 percent of electricity customers and 58 percent of gas customers within one quarter. For non-prepayment customers the average weekly amount towards debt was £3.20 for electricity and £3.47 for gas customers, with an average 48 week recovery period. For the prepayment customers the average weekly amount towards debt was £5.54 over an average 70 weeks for electricity and £6.33 over an average 58 weeks for gas.

A total of 21,589 electricity customers and 27,200 gas customers were on Fuel Direct, in which a direct deduction is made from income support or pension credit benefits to indebted customers to cover both current consumption and debt recovery.

During the year also, 234,149 electricity customers were given energy efficiency advice and 50,292 gas customers received free gas safety checks.