OVO Energy today announced the launch of Smart PAYG+, a new platform designed to ‘end top-up trauma for prepayment customers’ — of which there are 11 million in Britain, according to the independent gas and electricity supplier.
The prepayment energy problem
Prepayment meters require consumers to pay for their energy upfront. (They function similarly to a pay-as-you-go mobile, which is often why they’re referred to as PAYG meters.) Upfront payment is done via top up to a card or via tokens or keys at PayPoint or Payzone shops, or the post office.
While some households have prepayment meters installed by their supplier due to non-payment, others inherit such meters only to find a charge will be incurred for swapping them out with a standard meter.
Just a few weeks ago, The Mirror reported that Britain’s poorest households were losing out on the cheapest energy deals due to being on the wrong kind of meter. Further, these households stand to save the most as prepayment energy plans are some of the most expensive on the market.
Since many households are placed on prepayment meters due to struggling to pay their bills, the fact that the associated energy plans are not competitive can drive consumers further into debt.
A smarter way to prepay
According to OVO Energy, the new platform aims to bring simplicity to prepayment customers, and includes the following benefits:
- The ability to add more energy credit to their meter without leaving the house — users can top up via mobile, text, online or phone
- A “credit count down” and optional alerts to avoid supply interruption
- A smart meter
- Competitive plans for prepayment customers
Justin Cockerill, Managing Director of OVO Smart PAYG explains: “From being forced to make top-up trips at the most inconvenient times, to household emergencies due to energy suddenly running out, pre-payment energy customers have endured a rough ride from the industry.”
“We’re putting the power into the customers’ hands and giving them unprecedented control and convenience over the cheapest possible energy supply.”