Smart meter benefits for prepay customers
If you already prepay for your energy, with a smart meter you can top-up your credit anytime, anywhere. So, no more rushing to the shops to top-up! But that isn’t all, read on to find out why 93% of smart prepay users find their smart meters helpful*, according to our research.
What is a prepayment smart meter (smart pay as you go)?
Smart meters in prepayment mode, sometimes called smart pay as you go (PAYG), work like analogue prepayment meters – they measure the gas and electricity you use, and you pay in advance for your energy.
If you’re a prepay customer, smart meters, and the in-home display that comes with them, have more ways to make your life easier…
Top-up anytime, anywhere
Smart meters allow you to top-up from the comfort of your home, whether you want to top-up online, via an app, phone or text (depending on your supplier). And you can still top-up in the shops if you want. You can keep an eye on how much credit you have left using the in-home display that comes with your smart meter.
No more meter readings
Your smart meter is connected to a secure, smart network to automatically send your readings to your supplier. When you do want to see how much energy you’ve used, it’s all there on your in-home display.
Helping you to manage energy usage
Having a smart meter installed doesn’t automatically save you energy. But the in-home display that comes with them helps you see at a glance how much energy you’re using. Investigating what is using energy in your home can help you make choices to stay in control of how much you spend. Find out more about how smart meters could help you save.
Our energy saving tips are easy to follow ways that could help you save money.
Helping the country
Whilst the smart meters in our homes help us manage the energy we use, they also help the country plan a more flexible and resilient energy system for the future. Smart meters help us to better understand what energy is needed and where, supporting Britain’s energy security, and helping us to reduce our carbon emissions as a country as we move towards net zero.
Find out more about how smart meters can help the environment and benefit Britain.
What do people who use smart prepay think?
We asked over 2000* prepay customers who have smart meters if they found them helpful, and 93% said they did.
92% of the people surveyed said they found their in-home display helpful. They picked out the ability to see their energy use in pounds and pence in near-real time as a particular benefit.
My name is Doriver. I live in Derby with my family. I’ve been here for about five years.
If everybody had a smart meter, it would be equivalent of taking two thousand cars off the roads.
When we first moved into this house, we had an analogue prepay meter, and it was a nightmare. I've never experienced anything like it before.
Since we had the smart meter, I just feel so much more in control of my energy use because I can see exactly what I'm spending on a day-to-day basis.
I decide what we're going to use, and I know what I'm paying upfront every month. Topping up now is so much easier than previously.
Whereas I had to get dressed and physically going down to the shop, now when I get paid, I just lie in bed on my phone, top what I know I'm going to spend that month, because we've had the meter about three years so historically, I know roughly what I'm going to be spending. It takes me literally sixty seconds to top the meter up.
I am a lot more careful now about leaving things on standby, because you can see physically on my meter what kind of impact this can have.
It's nicer for me because it's kind of on my pocket, but also the less energy we use, then obviously it's much better environment so win-win.
I think it'd be lovely if Derby became more environmentally friendly and set the example.
We are the city with smart meters, we are a city that's saving energy. And how much better would that be for everybody's benefit.
Prepay case study: Doriver's story
Doriver in Derby has been using smart prepay for years and tells us how her meter and in-home display help her to stay in control of what she spends on energy, plus she can now top-up her meter without getting out of bed.
My name's Sarah, I live in Chelmsford, I've got two children, one's six and one's sixteen. Being able to afford and cover the bills right now is really hard.
The rise in the cost of living has impacted us significantly because the gas, the electric, the food bills, school uniform, you know, everything's gone up and it's impacting life a lot more. So I started noticing my bills were going up just before Christmas, and it's really hard to stay in control and know which ones to pay first. It might be a bill rather than a jumper for my child, you know? You can't control something that you've got no control over, so you have to just worry, and worry for the next month to the next month.
Previously, before having a smart meter, I wasn't really aware of how much the tumble dryer or the washing machine, leaving the cooker on, leaving the TV on costs. Whereas now having a smart meter, I'd consciously turn the cooker off in the evening, the washing machine, the tumble dryer, the VT goes off. The smart meter that I have does show me what I'm spending, what I've got left, when I need to top up. And that's a small bit of control that I have got.
As well as having the in-home display, I also have the app on my phone, which is perfect because whilst I'm at work throughout the day I'll check the app and if I can see that the meters are running low I can quickly top up, I don't have to leave. You know, really easy: just go to the app and top it straight up and then you can see that the balance has gone up within a couple of minutes.
Anyone that's struggling as in friends or family, I would recommend a smart meter because you definitely know what you're spending.
Prepay case study: Sarah's story
Sarah from Chelmsford tells us about how she uses her in-home display to help with budgeting and to understand how much energy some appliances in her home use, like her tumble dryer.
An introduction to prepay smart meters
Smart meters are available for prepay customers.
They come with a handy in-home display that clearly shows you how much credit you’ve got left. Then simply top up, however, and wherever you like. You can do this online, by phone, text, or via an app. This may vary depending on your supplier. If you prefer, you can still top up in person at your local shop and credit will be added to your account automatically.
They could also help with household budgeting because you’ll be able to see in near-real time just how much energy you're using and how much it’s costing you. Of course, smart meters are set up to work for both prepay and credit customers. if you'd prefer to change between credit and prepay, your supplier can make this change without you needing a whole new meter.
How very smart indeed.
*The poll was conducted on behalf of Smart Energy GB by Censuswide among 2,012 people across Great Britain who have a smart prepay meter between 13/02/2023 and 17/02/2023.