We are guessing that your school curriculum involved maths and science, but not a lot on the most common energy questions that come up after you move home. Google might be your friend to answer individual queries, but we’ve collected the answers to all of the questions we see most often in one handy place.
What type of meter do I have? How often should I submit meter readings? Will my house’s energy ever be cut off? Here are the answers to these common energy questions, and everything else you will ever need to know about your energy.
What type of meter do I have?
There are a few different types of meters that energy suppliers offer to customers. To find out which one you have or want we’ve compiled a quick guide to the different types.
- Standard meter
Standard meters are the most common type of meter in the UK. They measure the amount of energy you use, and show it in a dial or display on the front of the meter.
- Smart meter
A smart meter is a digital meter which displays your energy usage in real time. It also digitally sends meter readings to your energy supplier, so you get more accurate energy bills. Should you get a smart meter? Check out our blog post where you’ll find out everything you’ll ever want to know about smart meters.
- Economy 7 or 10 meter
These meters offer cheaper “off-peak” energy rates for either seven or ten hours a day. Bear in mind that any energy you use outside of these hours will be much more expensive than on a standard or fixed tariff.
If you’re on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff your meter should display two sets of numbers – one marked ‘normal’ and another ‘low’, or one marked ‘day rate’ and a red button which displays ‘night rate’ when pressed.
- Prepayment meter
This can be best understood as pay-as-you-go energy. The customer pays for their energy upfront by topping up their prepayment meter. When the meter runs out, your supply cuts off!
Prepayment meters may have been installed because the previous tenant or owner struggled to pay their energy bills, to avoid them slipping into debt.
How do I know which energy meter is installed in my house?
The easiest way to find out which energy meter you have in your new home is to give your energy supplier a call to check. Alternatively, if you have a recent energy bill to hand, you can check that.
If you haven’t moved in yet, then get in contact with your landlord or estate agent and they should be able to advise you on your meter type.
Can I switch from a prepayment meter to a standard one?
Yes you can, but unfortunately we are unable to arrange this for you. You will need to get in contact with your current energy supplier and ask them to change your meter. To do this you may need to show proof that your account is debt-free, and may also be required to pass a credit check to show you can keep up with energy payments.
If you are renting, then bear in mind you will need the landlord’s permission to change the meter.
Should I pay my bills by direct debit?
Paying your energy bills by direct debit is usually the cheapest way to pay for energy. This is because direct debit saves on administration costs for energy companies and ensures bills are paid on time. Energy companies will offer discounts for direct debit payments, and if you do nothing else, changing to DD payment will definitely save you money.
What is a dual fuel energy plan?
Most energy providers (57 of 69 as at December 2017) offer a dual fuel energy plan. Although not all, many UK homes have both gas and electricity supplied to the house, and a dual fuel energy plan is one tariff that covers you for both gas and electricity – rather than getting two separate tariffs to cover both.
Should I get a dual fuel energy plan?
In most cases, providers will offer a dual fuel discount for taking both a gas and electricity tariff out with them. This is usually around a £15 discount per fuel per month, but if a provider doesn’t offer this it doesn’t necessarily mean that they still won’t be cheaper.
Our quotes take all discounts into account, as well as unit rates and standing charges, so get in touch if you are unsure which provider has the best tariff for your situation.
How often should I submit meter readings?
Far too many people submit meter readings only when they move in or move out of a property. The problem with this is that it means that your energy supplier will charge you an estimated amount.
You may well find that these estimated bills are higher than your actual energy usage. After all, energy companies rarely underestimate your energy bills as it’s not good for their business!
Submitting regular meter readings could help you pay less for your energy bills, or at least an amount consistent with your actual use. You should aim to submit at least four meter readings a year – one per quarter.
Some energy companies also accept photos of your energy meters, so you don’t have to worry about submitting all the numbers manually.
Will my energy supply ever be cut off?
This might be the most pressing of the common energy questions we see every day. As mentioned before, if you are using a prepayment meter and you do not top up when needed, your supply will be temporarily cut off until you can fund the top-up card. The only other time you will be purposely cut off is when you fail to pay your bills.
Even this is rare, as energy providers will often allow for a couple of months of non-payment until they threaten to cut supply. They will give you multiple chances to pay any late or missing payments before doing so, but of course we recommend you keep your account up to date.
Apart from these instances, you will never have to worry about your supply of energy being cut off. Adverse weather conditions, power cuts and shortages will obviously mean your power may be temporarily unavailable, but it will always come back on.
If you are worried about this or have any medical conditions meaning this may be seriously problematic, energy companies have a priority register for the vulnerable in case of emergency, so they know who to work on getting power back to first.
If you do have any other questions regarding energy, get in touch with Please Connect Me and one of our Connections Experts will give you all the advice you need.
You will get straight through to us and our service is completely free, so for the sake of a quick call you could save up to 30% on your energy bills – up to £350 per year!