Prepayment Price Cap

Want to know more about the prepayment price cap?

 

You may or may not have heard (or just be generally confused) about the prepayment price cap that has been proposed.

The plan risks raising bills for dual fuel prepayment customers by just under £1 a week.  However, according to a Competition and Markets Authority spokesperson, the plan is based on striking the “right balance between protecting vulnerable consumers and ensuring energy suppliers are still able to operate and compete”.

A higher percentage of prepayment customers are classed as vulnerable, meaning there is greater worry that the new price cap rise will have significant repercussions on this consumer group, especially as they may face yet more rises later this year.

The price cap was originally due to run alongside the Smart Meter roll-out initiative, with the cap falling in line with the growing number of smart meter installations. Due to the delay in the initiative, there are discussions that the price cap could stay in place until 2020.

It has been raised that there are limited suppliers that are currently providing prepayment customers with smart meters and therefore leaving vulnerable customers open to potentially further financial risk.

As the energy company with a strong customer focus and smart meter installation programme, Nabuh Energy is working ahead to ensure that prepayment customers are not only being offered a smart meter in line with the Government initiative but are also paying more affordable prices. The Sunday Times (June 2019) recently highlighted the company as the cheapest supplier with an average annual spend of £900 on their Energy Deals piece.

The company has also shown to be the cheapest Northern Scotland tariff, the cheapest Prepayment tariff in various regions and to have one of the most competitive Direct Debit tariffs via many comparison publications and websites.

The use of fixed-term tariffs and no exit fee aids customers in their weekly/monthly budgeting, ease of movement and acknowledgement of daily spend.

The aim is to continue the company growth whilst ensuring that prepayment customers are receiving the service and price point that they deserve.

Smart meter FAQ part 3

How secure are smart meters?

The smart meter system is very secure and smart meters are not dangerous. Security has been at the heart of the whole smart meter rollout programme from its very inception, and the system has been specifically designed to prevent hacking.

Smart meters do not use the Internet, and they have their own closed, dedicated communications system. Smart meters have been designed with top cybersecurity experts, including the government and GCHQ, to ensure that security best practice has been incorporated at every stage.

What data do smart meters store?

Your smart meter has information about how much gas and electricity you’ve used but doesn’t store other personal information that could identify you, such as your name, address or bank account.

All this information about your energy use is strongly protected. The law, which is explained in the Energy UK Data guide for smart meters, puts strict controls on:

  • your data
  • who can access it
  • how you choose to share it

It’s your data – you choose what you want to do with it and you can change your mind about how much you share, and how often, at any time. So, you can choose:

  • how often your smart meter sends data to your gas and electricity supplier (monthly is minimum, daily or half-hourly are optional)
  • whether to share data about your energy use with other organisations, like switching sites
  • if your supplier can use your meter readings for sales and marketing purposes

 

How is my personal data kept safe when I have a smart meter?

Personal data is secure in the smart meter system. For a start, no details of your name, address or your bank account or any other financial details are stored by your smart meter. The only information stored on it is how much gas and electricity you have been using and what tariff you have chosen.

Any data that is stored belongs to you. No one can have access to that information without your permission. None of your information is transmitted via the internet. Instead, smart meters have their own secure, dedicated communications system that employs technology widely used by, for example, the banking industry.

Can my energy supplier use my data for marketing purposes?

Your supplier will not use any data from your smart meter for sales and marketing purposes unless you've given them permission to do so.

How will a smart meter save me money?

Smart meters make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it.

If you use the information shown on your in-home display to help reduce your energy use, you should be able to cut your energy costs. Smart meters also mean accurate bills, so you can be confident that you're only paying for what you've used, rather than overpaying, as you sometimes do with estimates.

Can a smart meter help me become more energy efficient?

Smart meters are paving the way for a more energy efficient future. They make it easier for us to identify the situations where we're using a lot of energy and might want to make changes to reduce it. They're also a crucial step towards the development of the smart grid, a whole new way of running our energy network. Energy suppliers will be better equipped to plan and manage Great Britain's electricity and gas whilst also matching supply and demand.

In the future, we can look forward to being rewarded with cheaper tariffs at off-peak times. This means we will pay less to mow the lawn or run the washing machine when electricity is not in high demand. It will also mean less pressure on the grid at busier times when we’re all rustling up our dinner or putting on the kettle whilst the adverts are on TV.

In addition, smart appliances will be able to interact with smart meter systems to help us save energy. For example, you could set your dishwasher to come on when electricity is cheapest or get a text from your house if you leave the heating on by mistake.

Smart meter queries

Do I need a broadband connection in my home to use a smart meter?

No. Smart meters use an entirely separate, bespoke wireless system. You don’t need Wi-Fi in your home for it to work and it won’t use your Wi-Fi if you have it.

Does having a smart meter make it easier to switch between payment modes (e.g. direct debit or prepay)?

Yes. New smart meters can operate and switch between modes, without an installer having to visit your house and change the meter.

Can I get a smart meter if I have solar panels?

We aren’t currently able to offer a tariff to customers with Solar panels, however, you can get a smart meter if you have solar panels with other providers. Your bills will reflect the energy you are using and that you have generated yourself. Your in-home display will only show how much energy you are buying from your supplier. In the future, your in-home display may also be able to reflect the energy you’re generating yourself, such as from solar panels.

What is the in-home display and what does it do?

Your in-home display is a handheld digital device that sits in your home. This may be called lots of things - like an IHD or smart meter display. It takes information from your smart meter and shows you in near real time how much energy you're using in pounds and pence.

And that’s just for starters. Your in-home display has all sorts of features to help you control your energy use and lower your bills. You can see:

how much energy you’re using in near real-time (it updates at least every 10 seconds for electricity and every half hour for gas) and can show you what it's costing you in pounds and pence (or if you prefer it, kwh or CO2 emissions)

  • how much energy you've used within the last day, week, and month.
  • For smart meters operating in prepay mode, it will also show:
  • how much credit you have left
  • how much you have on your emergency credit balance
  • your debt balance, if you have one
  • a visual or audio alert if your credit’s getting low

In the future, you may even be able to top-up via your in-home display.

Will the in-home display cost me anything to run?

Less than £1 a year in electricity.

Will the in-home display only receive information from my meter?

Yes, your in-home display is paired with your smart meter by your smart meter installer, so it only shows information from your own smart meter. It won’t pick up any information from your neighbours, and you won’t be able to take it and use it in another house.

 

I have an energy monitor. Is that the same as a smart meter?

No. You can buy a whole range of energy monitors that monitor how much electricity you're using, but they can't measure gas or send data about your energy use to your energy supplier.

Only a smart meter can: 

  • get you accurate bills from your energy supplier – no more estimates
  • show you what you’re spending in pounds and pence in near real-time
  • make manual meter readings a thing of the past

 

Will I still be sent energy statements?

Yes. Your in-home display is for information only. You will still receive regular energy bills in the same way you do now, whether that's in the post or online, but now they'll be accurate, without you having to submit a manual meter reading. Depending on your energy supplier, you may also receive some energy efficiency advice.

What are the standards that smart meters have to meet?

Smart meters are covered by strict UK and EU product safety laws. These ensure that smart meters all have the same high quality and safety standards, regardless of your energy supplier.

Could a smart meter impact my health?

Public Health England sees no risk or dangers to health from smart meters. The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes and exceed every UK and EU safety standard.

What health and safety tests have been carried out on smart meters?

The smart meters used in Britain have undergone one of the most rigorous safety testing regimes in the world and exceed every UK and EU safety standard. Public Health England, the government's agency on public health, has said that exposure to radio waves from smart meters is well within guideline levels, and is many times lower than the exposure from wifi and mobile phones.

What different components are there in the smart meter system?

When your energy supplier(s) fits your smart meter, you’ll get the following bits of kit:

  1. Smart gas and electricity meters – these replace your traditional meters. Depending on your supplier, your gas and electricity meters may be replaced at different times.
  2. An in-home display – a handheld digital device that sits in your home and allows you to see how much energy you are using as well as how much it's costing you in pounds and pence, in near real time. This may be called lots of things - like an IHD or smart meter display.

These all come at no extra cost and are fitted by a trained installer.

Where are smart meters manufactured?

Some of the components for smart meters will be manufactured abroad, but factories in the UK are likely to be doing the final assembly and technical configuration of the millions of meters that will be needed for the rollout.

 

We do have dedicated Smart Meter tariffs, why not see you can save money - get your free quote here.

Don't have a Smart Meter but interested? Sign up here and we will contact you when we are rolling out in your area

What are Smart Meters? -FAQ

By now, you’ve probably heard all about Smart Meters, you may even have one! But there is plenty of information around which we have decided to drag together into one place.

Read on to find out the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding Smart Meters.

What is a smart meter?

Smart meters are the new generation of gas and electricity meters. They are being installed in homes across Great Britain at no extra cost, to replace the traditional meters, including prepay key meters.

What do smart meters do?

A smart meter sends automatic meter readings directly and securely to your energy supplier, resulting in accurate bills, an end to estimates and manual meter readings. The accompanying in-home display is a handheld digital device, that sits in your home and allows you to see how much energy you're using and what it's costing you in pounds and pence in near real time. This may be called lots of things, like an IHD or smart meter display. Both your smart meter and in-home display will be installed by your energy supplier at no extra cost.

How do smart meters work?

Your smart meter measures how much gas and electricity you use and securely shares this directly with your energy supplier and your in-home display (the bit you'll use).

You won't have to take any meter readings manually – your smart meter will send automatic readings to your energy supplier via a secure national network which is solely for smart meters. This works in the same way as other wireless systems like car remote keys or TVs, using radio waves. Though it is a wireless system, you don’t need Wi-Fi in your home for it to work. And it won’t use your Wi-Fi if you do have it.

Do I need one smart meter for gas and another for electricity?

Yes, both meters will be replaced.

If you're a dual-fuel customer, your supplier will aim to install both meters on the same visit to make things as easy as possible. You will only need one in-home display to view both your gas and electricity usage.

If your gas and electricity accounts are with different suppliers, you will have two separate smart meter installations (one from each of your suppliers).

Do I have a smart meter?

As part of the smart meter rollout, smart meters must comply with technical specifications that will enable you to switch energy supplier. However, if your meters were installed several years ago, they may be early smart-type meters and may not meet these specifications.

Please check with your energy supplier to see if your meters comply with "Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications" (SMETS). If they do not meet these standards, then you'll be able to ask your supplier for more information about how you can get your smart meters installed.

Alternatively, if you have a gadget at home that helps monitor how much electricity you're using, this could be an energy monitor.

How accurate are smart meters?

Smart meters are as accurate as traditional meters. Energy suppliers receive very few complaints about them.

By law, all smart meters have to be certified by the Office for Product Safety & Standards to prove their accuracy, but if you do think there's a fault, you can report it to your energy supplier in the same way you do now.

What are the benefits for me?

There are plenty of gadgets that can help control energy use, but smart meters have two unique features:

  • they show exactly how much energy you’re using and what it’s costing, in near-real time
  • they send accurate meter readings to your energy supplier, so no more estimated bills or manual meter readings

With your smart meter, you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly how much gas and electricity you’re using in near real time, and what it costs in pounds and pence. This means you can be confident that you're only paying for what you have actually used and you'll always know what to expect in your next bill, so no more nasty surprises.

What are the benefits for everyone?

Smart meters are a vital upgrade to Great Britain’s energy system. The way we measure and pay for gas and electricity hasn't kept up to speed with improvements across almost every other area of our lives. Smart meters will enable a more efficient, greener, smarter energy system and lay the foundations for smart grids, which are a whole new way of running our energy networks.

What if I have a prepay meter?

Smart meters will make prepay as easy as pay-as-you-go on your mobile. If you choose smart prepay, you should be able to:

  • conveniently see how much credit you have left on your in-home display, without having to manually read or access the meter
  • top-up when and where you want to - online, with an app, or on the telephone.
  • top-up in person at your local store/outlet, without any need to put a key or card back into a meter. Payments will automatically be added to your account. You will always be able to top-up with cash

I'm on prepay and access to my meter is not always easy. Can smart meters help?

Yes. With a smart meter, you don't need a different kind of meter for prepaying. With a smart meter in prepay mode, you'll no longer need to access your meter. You'll be able to see how much credit you have left via your in-home display and top-up in a number of ways, including online, via an app or telephone. And you can still top up in person at a local shop/outlet. Credit will be automatically added to your account without any need to put a key or card back into your meter.

Can I get a smart meter if I am on an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff?

Many suppliers who offer Economy 7 and Economy 10 tariffs are also currently offering compatible smart meters, but others haven’t started to do so yet. All suppliers will be able to support your current Economy 7 and 10 set up once they start rolling out the second generation of smart meters (due in coming months). We do not currently support Economy 10 meters

Keep an eye out for further blogs covering Smart Meters and the questions we are often asked regarding them.

 If you are interested in having a Smart Meter – why not submit your interest here and we’ll contact you when we are fitting Smart Meters in your area.

Standing Charges

Let’s talk about Standing Charges…

Q. What is a standing charge?

A. Your energy bills and statements are just like telephone bills and statements. As with phone bills, you are billed for the line rental and specific calls on top. With energy, it is essentially the same with standing charges being the cost of having a gas and/or electricity supply – then usage on top.

This means the standing charge is the fee you pay to have us supply and maintain your energy.

Q. Why would I pay a standing charge if I don't have to?

A. Without a standing charge, you would end up paying more than you must for each unit of energy you use. This means, if you have a high standing charge, you may pay less for usages and vice versa.

It's important to remember to continue topping up over the summer and keep an eye on your balance, even if you aren't using as much energy. The standing charges will continue to be taken from your account.

Q. Do switching sites help me find the cheapest tariff?

A. We always advise our customers and others to be careful and to check details carefully when using comparison sites. You may find that many only ask for your monthly usage and receive a quote based on you using this amount every month and the estimate you receive in comparison to your actual costs may differ.

We always recommend checking and comparing your standing charge and usage charge. Also, check the companies (like us) that aren’t available through switching sites, you’ll often find many amazing and possibly better deals.

Q. Why are standing charges always within the small print and sometimes hidden?

A. We never hide our standing charges, nor do we try to hide them. We always stay within the regulated limitation and will only recommend our tariffs if they are beneficial to you. We are happy to discuss all our tariffs with you.

Please contact customerservice@nabuhenergy.co.uk for any further information you may need.