If you're on a prepayment energy tariff, which means you have to top up your energy supply on a pay-as-you-go basis, you might think you can't switch, or that the prepayment price cap will keep your costs down. This isn’t necessarily the case - you should always compare prepayment energy deals to find out if you can save.
Fact: Most suppliers offer at least one prepayment plan for customers in order to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible.
There are many reasons why you might want to switch your energy deal, and being on a prepayment meter shouldn’t prevent you from doing that. It may be difficult for you to switch from a prepayment meter to a standard meter if you’re renting, as the decision has to be made by the landlord, but you should be able to switch to a different prepayment tariff easily enough.
Fact: You can save more by switching to a better deal.
The energy price cap, which covers standard variable tariffs and prepayment tariffs, is touted as being good for customers because the amount they can be charged by energy suppliers is limited to the cap level. This isn’t the case, though.
You can actually save more money by making sure you take the initiative and switch to a better deal than the one you’re currently paying for. Whether you stick with a prepayment deal or try and make the move to a fixed deal, there’s often a better deal than the one you’re on.
Fact: With most suppliers, you can switch with up to £500 debt per fuel.
The Debt Assignment Protocol was brought in by Ofgem to ensure it's easier for prepayment customers to switch plans or suppliers, and many suppliers agree to it. It means that those suppliers should accept prepayment customers with debt as long as the debt does not exceed £500 per fuel.
The debt to the old supplier is paid off by the new supplier, which will incorporate the debt into your energy rates when you start receiving energy from it.
Fact: Even as a renter, it's your right to switch.
If you are directly responsible for paying your energy bill, you are allowed to switch your supplier and plan.
Any clauses in contracts which specify a preferred supplier for the property cannot be used to stop you as a renter from switching and saving on your bills. You may need to get permission from the landlord or managing agent to do so, but there is nothing to legally prevent you from switching.
Fact: You can, but it might not be a simple task.
If you own a property that has a prepayment meter, you can do what you like. However, if you rent, you’ll need your landlord’s permission to remove the meter. Once you’ve got confirmation that you’re allowed to remove it, though, you may be subject to a charge from the supplier you end up switching to if you want them to take the meter away.
If you stay with the same supplier but switch to a non-prepayment tariff, you might be able to negotiate the free removal of the prepayment meter, so it’s always worth asking what they can do to sweeten the deal.
1. Enter your postcode: gas and electricity prices are set regionally, and some suppliers only serve certain areas. This will narrow down which plans and suppliers are available to you.
2. Enter your energy details, selecting "prepayment" as the meter type: for the most accurate comparison results, you'll also need to enter your household's level of gas and electricity consumption. You can find the amount of energy you use or the price you’re spending on your most recent energy bill, or you can estimate your consumption by entering the number of bedrooms in your property (though this is a less accurate method).
3. Review your comparison results and pick a new plan.
4. Once you have confirmed your switch, we’ll inform both your old and new supplier of your switch: your new supplier will then contact you within 10-14 days to let you know when you'll start receiving energy from them.
Looking to switch from a prepayment meter to a credit meter? We explain who can switch and how you can get your prepayment meter replaced with a standard meter.Learn more
Discover if you can or cannot compare and switch energy providers without your landlord’s permission. More than three-quarters of UK renters are missing out of hundreds of pounds worth of energy savings by not comparing and switching their energy supplier.Learn more