Your guide to prepay electricity
If you’re considering switching energy suppliers the Switcher.ie switching service is here to help you.
Prepay electricity is an alternative option that can meet your energy needs. Essentially, the concept involves pay as you go electricity that is used and paid for at the same time.
PrePay Power and Pinergy both specialise in providing prepaid electricity services, with the former now in the market for more than two years.
Traditional energy suppliers such as SSE Airtricity and Electric Ireland are also introducing new pay as you go energy tariffs as the number of prepay electricity suppliers increases in Ireland.
How prepay electricity works:
Unlike other methods of paying for electricity where payment is usually done monthly or quarterly, a pay as you go (PAYG) meter requires topping up before energy is used.
This means overpayment does not occur and there’s never an option to use more energy than you can afford.
Essentially, this should make it easier for customers who might find it difficult to monitor and stay in control of their electricity usage. Finding the best deal often requires a comparison between the providers available but this can be difficult when paying via PAYG.
Some benefits of prepay electricity service include having:
- More direct control of your electricity costs
- No electricity bills, so you stay out of debt
- Easy, hassle-free top up service
- No disconnection or reconnection worries
Who’s the cheapest prepay electricity supplier on average?
Here is a table of the cheapest pay as you go electricity tariffs available based on the national average consumption. According to the Energy Regulator (CER), the average Irish household uses 13,800 kW/h of gas and 5,300 kW/h of electricity per year.
|Electric Ireland||Smarter Pay As You Go Electricity||€1,242||Compare now|
|PrePay Power||Standard||€1,278||Compare now|
Calculating the best prepay electricity deals
Paradoxically prepay electricity rates are typically more expensive than regular electricity rates. However its the control and flexibility that users have over their electricity consumption that helps PAYG customers to save more on their electricity bills.
The costs of using a pay as you go electricity services will vary to a regular electricity supply service. The main factors to look out for here are:
- Meter installation fees: the cost of installing a prepayment meter
- Introductory discounts: is there a discount available?
- Prepayment service charges: an annual fixed cost in addition to top up payments
Additional charges and rates
Prepayment service charges are also included with most prepay electricity tariffs to cover the costs of meters and additional services – this does however mean that costs are being incurred before any electricity is used.
The concept looks at how understanding usage can help to reduce consumption and usage monitors are included in the meters for this very reason.
When considering whether to switch, it’s important to understand all of the terms of a potential contract in order to see if you can save.
Running a price comparison on Switcher.ie where rates for all prepay electricity plans can be seen, will help to pinpoint any potential savings that you can make.
Switching is straightforward
Switching energy supplier is often wrongly considered to be a complicated and difficult process. In fact, it is very simple.
When comparing deals on Switcher.ie, its good to have a rough idea of your typical energy usage. Although this is not an essential requirement, using this approach will help you to find the cheapest and best suited PAYG tariffs for your needs.
After you apply to switch tariffs, your existing supplier will be contacted by your new supplier to process your switch. Your new supplier will handle all aspects of the change over.
A change from the past
Old prepaid meters used to require topping up at all hours of the day, but the modern meters are much more convenient to use.
These days suppliers offering prepay electricity services, guarantee not to cut customers off at night, at weekends or during the main public holidays. Any funds required to pay for electricity for these periods can simply be added at a later date.
PrePay Power and other PAYG suppliers operate a €5 IOU system for these instances while there is no time limit restriction on when meters can be topped up.
Pay as you go electricity options provide an alternative to traditional payment methods, leaving households with a clear understanding of what they are paying on electricity.
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