Fuel poverty - what's the smart move?

11th July 2017

Fuel poverty, a distinct issue from poverty more generally, is driven by three differing factors; household income, energy prices and the energy efficiency of the property.

Households are considered by the government to be in ‘fuel poverty’ if they have fuel costs that are above the national average, required to keep their home in a satisfactory and liveable condition.  

So, how can Pay As You Go meters be the answer?

Too often, we at Utilita Energy, hear people say that Pay As You Go meters are part of the fuel poverty problem, but in reality they are the solution.

In fact, the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) Fuel Poverty Strategy1, issued in March 2015, made it clear that, of the nearly 2.5 million fuel poor households, most do not have Pay As You Go meters.

Although research has found that households are more likely to be in fuel poverty if using a Pay As You Go meter2, they are less likely to be in severe fuel poverty.

Those classed as being severely fuel poor,  more often than not, pay via a monthly Direct Debit and have a significantly larger fuel poverty gap, compared to those with Pay As You Go meters.

Traditional meters vs our smart meters – what’s the difference?

Traditional Meters – a large proportion of Pay As You Go energy consumers still use antiquated metering systems that can’t be topped-up up remotely. Credit balances are not easily accessible and the meters are  often located in hard to reach places – resulting in an energy service which greatly contributes to the stresses of those already dealing with the effects of fuel poverty.

People are still using antiquated pre-pay meters en masse, often bound by rental or sheltered accommodation  where they may not have the power to switch to a better service.

Smart Meters – our smart Pay As You Go meters enable users to view their credit balance in real-time, including the number of days it will last; clearly accessible on an ‘In-Home Display’. Top-ups can be made quickly and easily online, over the phone, via an app, as well as at the shop with cash or card. Payments are automatically credited to the meters – whether £2 or £200, the customer decides.

No more bills, no more estimated readings, no more expensive tariffs – just real-time information and manageable ways to pay.

So, for those of us on a lower income and with  higher than typical energy costs, smart Pay As You Go energy could be a very smart move.

1https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/40864/cutting_the_cost_of_keeping_warm.pdf
2https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5332/Annual_Fuel_Poverty_Statistics_Report_2016.pdf

Rebecca looks after our social media channels, including Customer Care enquires, content and blogs. She’s a bit of a social media guru, and has been with the business since November 2014.

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