Domestic Energy FAQs

Fixed rate energy tariffs charge a set price for gas and electricity over a set period protecting you against energy price Increases

Fixed rate deal doesn’t mean you’ll be paying the exact same amount for your energy each month – the fixed cost relates to the units of gas and electricity you use, so if your energy usage changes each month, your bills will accordingly.

Economy 7 is an energy price plan that charges a cheaper rate for electricity for seven night-time hours than during the rest of the day.

This means that for seven hours each night the unit costs for your electricity will be lower than the unit costs you pay during the remaining seventeen hours – it’s vital you plan your electricity usage around these hours, else you could end up paying more for your energy.

As you may have already guessed, the tariff is called Economy 7 as it offers seven ‘off-peak’ hours during which you can get cheaper electricity.

Economy 7 is now often referred to as Day / Night tariff

The exact times which a night tariff starts and stops will depends on which supplier you use, most commonly Night Tariffs start and finish between 11:30pm and 7:30am.

If you’re unsure of the exact times of your night tariff or “off-peak hours” check with your energy supplier for more details, you can also find this information on your energy bills

Check your latest electricity bill to find out if you’re on a Day / Night tariff – if your meter point access number (MPAN) begins with ‘02’ (profile type) and you have two different rates, one for night and one for day, then you’ll be on Economy 7.

Standing charges for energy are an amount you pay each month to cover the cost for the upkeep and maintenance of the meters in your home.

Standing charges have been included on all energy bills since Ofgem’s Retail Market Review (RMR) suggested all energy plans should follow the same price structure, to make it easier for customers to compare energy tariffs and switch to a better deal.

Each energy supplier sets its own standing charge rate and the standing charge for electricity can be anywhere between 5p and 60p per day, while the standing charge for gas is from 10p to 80p per day, the standing charge is a fixed cost and will never affect the your bills should you use more energy

A no standing charge energy tariff is simply a gas, electricity or dual fuel deal that does away with the standing charge – the daily fee your supplier charges to cover the cost of physically supplying gas and electricity to your home, and keeping it connected to the energy network.

It is often found is you opt for a no standing charge tariff the unit cost of energy can be higher so if you use a lot of energy or are deemed a High Energy Customer you will benefit from having a Standing Charge Tariff.

If your energy supplier implements a standing charge, you have to pay it, but there are a few energy suppliers who can offer a no standing charge contract.

The charges will vary depending up the type of tariff you’re on and the supplier you are with.

If you have a prepayment meter and pay for your energy by topping up your meter with credit, you’ll still have to pay a standing charge. Prepay meter standing charges still have to be paid even if you don’t have any credit on your prepayment meter – you’ll have to pay all the standing charges you owe next time you top up.

Standing charges for prepayment meters are typically around 28p per day, but the amount you pay will vary depending upon which tariff and supplier you’re with, some suppliers apply a weekly standing charge tariff at a set rate e.g. 28p per day charged at the end of the week will reduce your credit by £1.96, should you see your credit dropping quickly at the end of each week this maybe a factor.

A prepayment meter is a special type of energy meter that can be installed in domestic properties. With a prepayment, or ‘pay as you go’ tariff, you pay for your energy before you use it – usually by adding money to a ‘key’ or smart card, which is then inserted into the meter.

Energy is then credited to your account, and your meter will then use this credit until it runs out – the more energy you use, the quicker your credit will run down.

Historically, prepayment meters have had a reputation for literally leaving users ‘in the dark’, but most modern meters are fitted with an ’emergency credit’ function, which offers a set amount of credit to give you extra time to top up, should you run out of pre-paid credit.

Your meter may also have a ‘no disconnect’ mode to ensure your meter won’t cut out at times you can’t physically add more credit, such as late at night when the local PayPoint, Payzone and Post Office outlets are closed, even if you’ve used the ’emergency credit’ feature.

Alternatively, your supplier may offer 24-hour tops ups, via text, app, telephone or online.

· Ensures you stay in control of how much and how often you pay for your energy.
· Helps prevent running up large, unexpected bills.
· Helps you avoid getting into debt with your energy supplier.
· If you have fallen into debt with your energy supplier, you can use a prepayment meter to pay back the outstanding balance in agreed amounts, over a set period of time. Be aware though, this could mean you need to top-up a bit more than you usually would, so make sure you budget for this.

· More expensive to operate than other types of meter, meaning you’ll most likely pay more for your energy than with a credit meter.
· Topping up at your local PayPoint, Payzone or Post Office can be inconvenient.
· If you can’t get out to top up your key or smart card, your energy can be switched off, leaving your home without any power. If this happens, you may have to repay any emergency or outstanding credit before it is switched back on.
· A credit meter allows you to spread the cost of your energy evenly over the year, so you don’t have to pay more when your energy usage increases in the winter. Prepayment meters don’t allow for this, meaning you may struggle to find the extra money to top up during the colder months, particularly if you’re on a tight budget.
· If you don’t remember to charge your meter with enough credit before you go on holiday, you could find your energy is switched off, meaning vital appliances, such as fridge freezers, are also switched off.

Prepayment gas and electricity meters are often suitable landlords who rent their property to tenants, primarily because it means tenants can’t leave without paying their energy bills in full, in which case the landlord may have to pick up the tab. Prepayment meters also mean landlords don’t have to change the account holder registered with the energy company each time there is a change of tenancy.

Prepayment meters are also an option for anyone who has struggled to keep up with bill payments in the past. If a customer has fallen into debt with their energy company, the company may install a prepayment meter to help the customer control their usage against their budget.

To take a prepayment meter reading, you’ll need to press a button on the meter (it’s usually blue), and this will change the display from showing remaining credit to showing the actual reading, which will be displayed just like on any other meter.

If you lose your prepayment meter key or smart card, get in touch with your supplier as soon as possible they can then arrange for you to pick up a new card or key from your nearest PayPoint, PayZone or Post Office. (subject to availability)

If you’re looking to make the switch from a prepayment meter, the first thing to do is get in touch with your energy supplier to make sure you are eligible for a credit meter.

This will usually involve them running a credit check on you, to help them decide if you’ll be able to keep up with the monthly repayments – if you have a poor credit score, you may find your application is rejected and you’ll have to stay on a prepayment tariff. If this is the case, compare prepayment tariffs and see if you can find a cheaper deal with another supplier

If you pass the credit check, an engineer will be booked in to remove your old meter and install a new one. If your property is fitted with a smart meter you won’t need to have a new meter installed.

Each energy supplier has its own rules regarding the replacement of prepayment meters, meaning you may be charged a fee to cover the installation costs. The good news if your energy is supplied by one of the Big Six then you won’t be charged any fee for switching from a prepayment to a credit meter.

If your current supplier does charge for the meter change, it may be worth switching to a supplier that doesn’t before you make the change. But be aware that you may have to be with your new supplier for a set period of time before they’ll switch you to a prepayment meter.

If you’ve moved to a new home which has a prepayment meter, you’ll first need to register with the energy company as the new account holder – if not, you might end up paying the wrong tariff or worse someone else’s debt.

Once registered, compare prices to make sure you’re on the cheapest possible prepayment meter tariff.

If you can’t find the meter key or smart card when you move into a property with a prepayment meter, get in touch with your supplier and they can arrange for you to pick one up from your nearest PayPoint, PayZone or Post Office. (subject to availability)

Domestic Energy switches are a quick and simple process, from the date of acceptance you have a 14 day cooling off period and a further 7 days to complete the switch (21 days on average) however this process can be delayed if you owe money to your current supplier .

Send Us Your Message