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Pre pay or billed meters?


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We have just bought and renovated our first buy to let property. At present there is a pre pay key meter for the electricity. There was one also for the gas but they came and changed it quicker than Npower did with their electricity meter.

We had a salesman cold call today from EDF who said that we would be better going with them `and staying with a pre pay meter as we are responsible for the lecky bill should the tenents do a runner. I thought that the bill payer was responsible rather than the owner of the property?

I would personally prefer the billed meter purely from the point of view of not having to worry about running out of electricity and having to go and top up. EDF say they dont charge any more for pre pay than for billed metered lecky

What are peoples experiences regarding this issue.

Thanks in advance...... Eric & Tina :-)

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Hi Eric and Tina,

Personally I would go with billing rather thatn pre-pay for both services. You are not liable for unpaid bills run up by your tenants. Most standard AST's should state that the tenant is responsible for all utility bills - check this for yourself before you sign.

Even if your tenants do a runner just read the meters and get the account closed off in their names and get the next lot in making sure you get the account names corrected. I always keep a note of the meter details and supplier numbers for each property in my diary so I can refer back to it easily and quickly should things go wrong.

It is generally accepted that electricity is more expensive on pre-pay and I doubt the truth of what the EDF rep has told you although that may alter in the future.

Since you have billing for gas it would be daft to have electric on pre-pay and this may hinder you getting tenants who don't want the hassle as you've already pointed out.

I did have one tenant who changed the meter to pre-pay without my consent. He did a runner and left the meter in debit (they allow a certain amount to run up, in this case £30). When I put my 5 quids worth in just to get the lights on it swallowed it up and I got no power! It took 6 weeks to get Southern Electric to change it back - luckily they didn't charge me.

Hope this helps,


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