As energy bills rise should you put your tenant on a prepayment meter?
Prepayment meters, also known as prepay or pay as you go meters, are very common in the metering industry. With a prepayment system, energy is purchased before it has been used. This allows you to take control of your energy bills and prevents landlords from being on the stinging end of a scenario where the tenant will not pay the monthly bill for whatever reason this may be. There are a few different types of Prepay meters, the main versions being coin operated, card operated (top up card) and debit/credit card operated via an online portal. This allows you stay debt free as you can manage budgets before the end of the month and ensure you have received payment to cover the energy bill received from your energy provider
What are the Benefits?
As mentioned above a prepayment meter allows the consumer to stay debt free in regards to their electricity bill.
Prepayment accounts can be much easier to manage and are also generally easy to top up. Coin meter are topped up by inserting a coin that your specific meter accepts. This should be stated on the meter or by your landlord. Card meters are topped up by purchasing a top up card and either tapping it on the face of the meter or inserting the card into the meter, depending on which meter you have. Online top up meters are topped up using your credit or debit card, generally via an online portal / website. Most online top up systems have a 24 hour phone line for top ups in case there are any issues with the portal / website / online connectivity. Some prepay meters also allow you to top up via your local shop depending on if they support the meters payment provider.
Pre-payment meters also help the consumer / tenant to be more aware of their energy usage as they are likely to top up multiple times in one month. In comparison to a monthly bill, they get hit with after many cold nights with the heating on blast. This can be a shock and often is what leads to tenants not paying their bills, as they have not realised what they have spent. This is of course a benefit to not only the landlord and tenant but also the planet!
What are the disadvantages?
If the credit has run out on the meter, there’s a risk that it will cut off the electricity supply, leaving you with no lights, food in the freezer could defrost, fish tank pumps and exotic pet heat lamps could all lose power, etc. These could all be costly and upsetting drawbacks of using a prepayment meter but of course, it’s up to the tenant to ensure the meter is always topped up.
The landlord has to agree, understand and compromise when the occupant could suffer from a health and safety risk if the power was cut, for example, equipment such as stairlifts or medical devices that need to be always online.
A disadvantage as a landlord (depending on what type of meter you use) could be that you or someone has to always be available to sell top up cards or empty the coin meter tray once full. This is more of a slight inconvenience rather than a disadvantage and there are meters in the market that avoid these types of interactions and remove the need of site visits completely in regards to your tenants electricity supply, such as online prepayment meters.
Overall getting a prepayment meter is great for a landlord as the meters can guarantee that they will receive payment to accurately cover the electricity usage of their tenants. These payments are staggered rather than is a lump sum which is a bonus and helps with cash flow. These meters are very easy to top up and have debt protection. Just make sure (as a tenant) you pay for enough electric each time so you don’t run out of credit and cause yourself problems.
What Prepayment meters do we offer?
At Anymeters we stock the metro prepayment meter in both single and three phase. This includes a PayPoint top up feature which is available in all major supermarket chains where the consumer will get a code that they’re able to punch into the meter directly. You can also top up this meter online, purchasing a code via the Metro website, or via a telephone service that Metro provide. There are a number of ways to top up which makes this solution super convenient.