Paying Energy Bills by Prepayment Meters Could Make Consumers More Susceptible to Debt, According to Find Energy Savings Survey

A survey has revealed that homes with a prepayment meter are more likely to borrow money to heat their home than their Direct Debit counterparts.

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More needs to be done to encourage customers to evaluate their energy supply and method of payment.

(PRWEB UK) 24 October 2012

As Big Energy Saving week begins, a Find Energy Savings survey has revealed that homes with a prepayment meter installed are four times more likely to borrow money to heat their home, compared with those paying on Direct Debit.

The survey questioned 922 people about their methods of paying for energy as well as their attitude and habits in this area to give an overview of who is the most vulnerable in light of the imminent price hikes to energy bills.

Big Energy Saving Week – held between 22nd and 27th October – is coordinated by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and aims to help those struggling to heat their home by offering practical advice and support where needed. The survey aimed to find out who those people are.

Key findings of the survey included:

  •     37% of those who pay with a prepayment card have considered asking a friend or family member to borrow money to pay for their energy bill, compared with only 8.5% paying by Direct Debit.
  •     36% of people with a prepayment meter have never checked to see if cheaper tariffs are available to them, despite a possible saving of up to £138 by switching supplier (source: uSwitch).
  •     Approximately 30% of respondents now feel more confident about being able to afford to heat their home after having loft or cavity wall insulation installed.

Justin Elliot of Find Energy Savings said:

“Direct Debit users are regularly offered discounted tariffs, meaning prepayment users pay more on average for their energy. According to the surveyed consumers, loved ones are their first port of call if they are struggling, when in fact, many could be eligible to switch suppliers in order to get a cheaper rate. And yet, 36% of these people had never looked for cheaper tariffs at all!

“It’s clear that more needs to be done to encourage customers to evaluate their energy supply and method of payment, as well as encouragement for cheaper energy, including renewables.”

You can read more about the survey at the Find Energy Saving website.


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