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Prepay energy customers ‘worried about bills as spending increases’

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·1-min read

Nearly six in 10 prepay energy customers who do not have a smart meter are worried about their energy bills, a survey has found.

Around two-thirds (65%) of energy customers on a non-smart prepay meter said their spending on energy has increased during national lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Smart Energy GB.

Smart Energy is a campaign to help people understand more about smart meters and their rollout across England, Scotland and Wales as traditional analogue meters are replaced.

Some 57% of people on non-smart prepayment meters said that since the latest restrictions they were quite or very worried about their energy bills.

Smart meters have a display which help people understand their energy spending in “real time”.

People may also find they can access certain energy tariffs which could work out cheaper.

A third of those surveyed (34%) on non-smart prepayment meters said leaving the house to top up was the most irritating thing about having one.

Other gripes included running out of energy at a bad time and losing the meter key.

Fflur Lawton, head of public affairs at Smart Energy GB, said: “Increased energy bills can be a worry for anyone, but we know there is extra pressure on people with prepayment meters, who tend to be living in more vulnerable circumstances.

“Both prepay and credit smart meters offer the opportunity for people to take control of their energy use and start to understand the changes they could make in order to help them save energy and money at a time when more and more people are living with financial worries and difficulties.”

More than 1,000 people were surveyed across the UK in January.