Domestic Gas Meter, what are your options?

Did you know you had a choice of what type of gas meter to have in your home? Possibly not, and many people don’t. Credit meters are those that get read on a regular basis and for which you receive a quarterly bill, and a prepaid meter are those that have a top up card so you are paying in advance for anything you use. There are pros and cons to both meter types so you must assess your needs before you choose one.

Credit Meters

In most houses the credit meter is the standard installation. A credit meter is great because if you are short of money you can still have heating and cooking facilities. The meter is usually placed inside the home and a meter reader will call, take the reading and soon after you will get a bill. Many people choose to pay their bill using a direct debit straight from their bank each month. However, it is possible to make a card payment over the phone or send a cheque payment through the post. Post offices will also take over the counter payments when using cash or a cheque.

Payment cards are also a good option to make payments. Paying small, regular amounts on the card will help to spread the cost of your energy bill throughout the year. There are payment points at many retail outlets for those who wish to use this option.  If you choose to pay by direct debit you have several options to choose from. You can pay regular fixed monthly payments or you can choose to pay the bill quarterly as a variable rate which pays off the bill in full. For this option you will usually receive your bill around 10 days before the payment is taken so you know how much will be debited from your account. You can also choose to be billed each month and have a variable direct debit set up to take the full payment each month. Direct debit options are often cheaper too as discounts are offered to those who choose to pay this way.

Prepaid Gas Meters

Prepaid gas meters are exactly that. You can load up the meter whenever it suits you and you can use as much as you need. When the credit has run out the gas will shut off. All gas meters have an emergency credit facility of £5.00, so if you run out and have no money then you can still have heat for a short while. The £5.00 emergency will need to be topped up the next time you load your meter, and the emergency credit will be topped up first. This means if you use the whole emergency credit and then you top up with £10.00, your emergency credit will refill and your meter will show a credit value of £5.00.

Pay as you go, prepaid, meters are ideal for those on a strict or very tight budget, or for those who prefer not to have bills coming in each month, the downside to this type of meter is the fact the gas usage tariff is always slightly higher than a standard credit meter.

Image: ActiveSteve

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Phil Turner has to pay for one thousand litres of kerosene at a time, on delivery, not as it is used. Sometimes he thinks that having to access to natural gas and being able to check things like prepayment meters at might be nice

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