Token prepayment customers and debt build up continues to decline in U.K.


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 13, 2007 – Since the start of 2007 the number of token prepayment meters accruing debt in the U.K. has declined from 409,000 to around 115,000.

The latest returns, submitted to the energy regulator Ofgem by the three suppliers Scottish Power, npower and Powergen up to June 2007, also show that more than 79,000 token prepayment meters were removed in the period April to June, leaving the remaining stock standing at just over 552,000.

Scottish Power indicated in its return that it is installing around 4,000 key meters a week. It expects to have replaced 240,000 meters by April 2008 and to have replaced all token meters by September 2009.

npower indicated that it had continued to carry out account reassessment and out of 17,900 accounts processed, had identified 15,700 accounts for debt write-off totaling £1.035 million (an average £66 per customer).

Powergen reported that it had also reviewed its customer facing processes in order to maximise the rate of meters successfully exchanged by encouraging visits to properties outside of normal working hours and engaging in dialogue with customers to encourage a meter exchange. One of the actions to achieve this has been to translate a message on the withdrawal of token meters in one particular area into 15 different languages explaining why the meters are to be removed and replaced.

Ofgem says that it had planned to monitor token prepayment customers and debt build-up for the six months to June 2007 but given the progress is currently considering future monitoring.