E.ON to cut prepayment costs by offering smart meters

E.ON look set to break new ground by bringing down the costs of prepayment meters to match those of standard energy tariffs as part of a new pilot scheme aimed at equalising the energy market. Those who want to benefit from E.ONís new low prices will need to have a smart meter installed in their home, allowing for more accurate reading to be taken, and usage to be monitored online.

Currently, customers using prepayment meters can expect to pay inflated costs for their energy, paying on average £80 more per year than customers on conventional tariffs. The problem is that a significant number of customers using prepayment meters (PPMs) are those who are more financially at risk, particularly given the steady increase of forced installation of PPMs in the households of customers in debt due to unpaid bills.

The upshot of all this is that customers who are the worst off often end up paying the most for their energy ñ surely not a desirable state of affairs.

E.ON look to be changing this with their new scheme, which they claim will save customers around £100 per year, and is £67 per year cheaper when compared with the best prepayment deal around at the moment, offered by OVO. OVOís deal also uses a smart meter.

At first, this new ëSmart Pay As You Goí deal from E.ON will be available to the first 30,000 customers who opt in to the pilot scheme, with the idea being to unveil it fully by 2016. This is a two pronged effort from E.ON to, on the one hand, equalise prices across the board, and on the other, to boost the use of smart meters in general.

Smart meters are being hailed as the latest tool available to help responsible and careful energy use, offering extensive monitoring facilities online, and the ability to pay either on the phone or on the internet easily. Indeed the government hopes that by 2020, every home in the UK will have a smart meter installed, allowing for more accurate readings to be taken, helping customer and provider alike.

Operations director for E.ON, David Bird, proudly announced that ì[E.ON are] pleased to be one of the leaders in providing the services that we know our customers want, as well as strengthening our commitment to those customers who may need additional supportî

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