How do the different payment types work?

The main payment methods are:

Pay on receipt of bill
Amount: Variable according to usage. 
Type: Manual payment via cash, cheque, credit card or debit card.  
Detail: Every month or quarter you will receive a bill for the period just been.  The bill will show the total amount owing and the date by which it needs to be paid.  You will need to make a manual payment via cash, cheque, credit card or debit card before the final payment date.  Details for how to make the payment will be shown on the bill and can also be found on the supplier’s website.  Make sure you allow time for the payment to be processed in advance of the payment date. 
Benefits:

  • You pay for exactly what you have used that period.

Beware: Variable payments can be harder to budget for.  If you miss the payment date you may be charged a penalty.

Monthly direct debit
Amount: Fixed according to annual estimate
Type: Automatic payment
Detail: You will pay a set amount, on a set date every month based on an estimate of 1/12th of your annual usage. Your bills will show how much power you have used, what it has cost and what you have paid so far via direct debit. There may be some bills where you are in credit, but this should balance out over the year.  It’s important to check regularly and if you are in credit by a large amount ask your supplier to adjust the amount they are taking via direct debit.
Benefits:

  • With this option it is not possible to receive a late payment penalty unless you have insufficient funds and the bank doesn’t honour the transaction (this will vary depending on the bank so check the terms of your account).
  • You know the exact date the payment is being made and can plan for it. Some suppliers offer you a choice of dates within the month for when you would prefer your payment to be taken. 
  • Direct debit customers are often rewarded with discounts.
  • Some tariffs are only available on direct debit.

Beware: To ensure direct debits are accurate we recommend you regularly read and submit meter readings to your supplier.

Quarterly direct debit

Amount: Variable according to actual usage
Type: Automatic payment
Details: Every quarter you will receive a bill for the period just been.  The bill will show the total amount owing, the date by which it needs to be paid and date on which your direct debit will be taken from your account.   Some suppliers offer you a choice of dates within the month for when you would prefer your payment to be taken. 
Benefits:

  • You pay for exactly what you have used that period.

  • You know the exact date the payment is being made and can plan for it.

  • Direct debit customers are often rewarded with discounts.

  • Some tariffs are only available on direct debit.


Beware: Variable payments can be harder to budget for. 

Prepayment meter
Amount: Variable or fixed
Type: Manual payment
Detail: This option is only available if you have a prepayment meter.  If you have a prepayment meter no other option is available to you.  Customers are required to pay for their energy usage in advance of consumption.  The meter needs to be topped up with credit which can either be done by inserting cash directly into the meter or via a smart card, key or token which can be topped up at a recognised shop or post office.
Benefits:

  • You pay in advance for exactly what you use and cannot go into debt.

Beware: If your meter runs out of credit, your energy supply will be cut off.

 

Which option is best? The option most suitable for you will depend on your personal circumstances.  Some tariffs are only available via certain payment methods.  Suppliers tend to prefer direct debit and will sometimes offer discounts for choosing this method.  See the detail above under each payment method to better understand how each option works.

 

 

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