Small energy supplier Utilita pushes up prices

The supplier follows in the footsteps of five of the 'Big Six' suppliers and pushes up prices 9.5%

Utilita specialises in prepayment energy, whereby users top-up on their energy before using it.

Prepayment meters topped by by cards or tokens are used by approximately 5.9 million households in the UK, but Utilita also installs smart meters which monitor top-ups remotely.

Prepayment meters are typically installed in homes who have slipped into debt with they supplier and are used to help them manage their budget more effectively.

They are also used by landlords on rental properties looking to cut the risk of tenants falling behind on energy bills.

Prepayment problems

While prepayment meters allow users to control their debt, they can also be more expensive per unit of energy with the best tariffs often not available to prepayment customers.

Earlier this year the energy regulator Ofgem announced plans to make it easier for prepayment users to switch to standard meters. Since the 1st of November prepayment customers with up to £500 of debt can switch, up from the previous £200 limit.

The current rules state that any prepayment customers with more than £200 worth of energy debt can’t switch, but Ofgem will raise this limit to £500 from the 1st of November 2012 in a move potentially impacting tens of thousands of households.

In the same report Ofgem highlighted the rates of energy debt, with more than 315,000 electricity, and 320,000 gas prepayment meter customers in energy debt. Th the average level of debt is £364 (up from £339 in 2010).

Learn more…

In energy debt? – Read our guide for advice on what steps you should take.

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