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There are different types of energy meters available, and some may help you keep better track of the energy you are using in your home. Energy meters are a great way to help reduce the amount of energy you use.

Smart meters

Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters being rolled out across the UK. You can get them installed by contacting your energy supplier, who is required to install them for free.

Smart meters show you how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence through an in-home display. They also send automatic meter readings to your energy supplier so you will receive accurate bills.

Being able to see your energy use in real time can help reduce your energy consumption. According to energy research company Delta-ee, making small steps in your home could save over £50, or over £100 in households with medium to high energy consumption – as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Older smart meters may lose display functionality and the ability to send automatic meter reads to your supplier if you switch supplier. You can still switch but you may need your new supplier to install an up-to-date meter or go back to manually submitting your meter readings.

For more information visit the Smart Energy GB website or contact your supplier.

Credit meters

Credit meters are the most common type of meter. You will have this type of meter if you are paying for your energy through direct debit or on receipt of your bill every three months.

Paying through direct debit means you can spread the cost of energy throughout the year to help with budgeting. If you have a credit meter, you will be expected to submit regular meter reads to your supplier.

Pre-payment meters

Pre-payment meters mean paying for your energy using a top-up key at a post office, Paypoint, Payzone or your own supplier’s app or website.

Pre-payment is the most expensive way to pay for your energy as there are fewer tariffs available. It also means you must pay up-front, and you cannot spread the cost of energy throughout the year making budgeting difficult.

If you do not regularly top up and you use your emergency credit, then your energy will be cut off. However, some people prefer this meter type as it helps to track how much money they are spending on energy and avoids any large bills that can accumulate.

If you feel credit meters are better for you then you can switch from a pre-payment meter. Just check with your current supplier or visit the Citizens Advice website for further information.

At-risk or vulnerable residents who do not have sufficient funds to pay for fuel costs on their pre-payment meter can receive support through the Resident Support Scheme.

Check if you are eligible for support for Islington’s award-winning energy advice service SHINE, which can help support with switching tariffs, reducing utility bills, tackling energy debt and ultimately staying well and warm. Visit SHINE or call freephone number 0800 953 1221. 

For further information on pre-payment meters, watch these helpful videos:

Economy 7 meter

An Economy 7 meter means you pay for two rates of electricity which can either be through credit or pre-payment. A higher rate applies during peak periods and a lower rate applies in off-peak periods. You can find out more about Economy 7 meters at the Centre for Sustainable Energy website.