U.K. prepayment customers losing out by not switching


Alistair Buchanan,
Ofgem Chief
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 28, 2007

New figures released yesterday by U.K. energy regulator Ofgem show that nationally prepayment meter customers are losing out on savings worth £250 million by not switching supplier.

This amounts to an average saving of around £100 a year for each customer who has not switched.

In a recent survey on prepayment meter satisfaction commissioned by Ofgem, it was found that few customers had tried to switch supplier and many saw little benefit in doing so, and that more information is needed on the suppliers and their prices.

As a result Ofgem yesterday launched a campaign to encourage prepayment meter customers to consider three options:

  • If they prefer a prepayment meter for budgeting they should look at changing supplier
  • To investigate if they are eligible for a special tariff deal that their supplier might offer, and
  • To consider changing to a cheaper payment option.

Average annual prepayment electricity bills were found to range from £356 with SSE to £435 with npower, and average annual prepayment gas bills from £560 with Scottish Power to £617 with British Gas.

Unlike other customers, prepayment meter customers are usually better off “pick and mixing”, with gas from one supplier and electricity from another rather than opting for a dual fuel deal.

Ofgem Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan said that prepayment meter customers should take advantage of the competitive market if they are to see further falls in their energy bills. “Customers should consider whether they would not be better off paying for their energy in another way, but if they prefer budgeting with prepayment meters then they also need to look closely at the many special deals suppliers are offering users.”

Link: U.K. prepayment meter customers express satisfaction