Ways to pay your bill
Energy companies offer a number of different ways to pay your bill. These are:
- Direct Debit - this is where a set amount is taken from your bank account every month. The amount is based on readings given by you or taken by the energy company.
- Standard credit - this is where you get a bill once a month or once a quarter. When you get the bill, you arrange payment. The amount is based on an estimate of how much energy you've used, or the exact amount if based on a meter reading.
- Pre-payment meters - these work in the same way as pay-as-you-go mobile phones. Instead of getting a bill for the energy that you have used, you pay for your gas and electricity before you use it.
- Fuel Direct - this is a way of paying bills directly from your benefits if you are having difficulty paying your bills. The scheme can help spread out your energy costs.
There are two types of pre-payment meter:
You can top up your smartcard and keys from newsagents, garages and the Post Office.
Cheaper ways to pay your energy bill
You can help to cut the costs of your bills by choosing to pay by Direct Debit or to use paperless (online) billing. Direct Debit is usually cheapest because there are fewer costs involved for the company.
If you choose to pay by standard credit, or are on a pre-payment meter these may cost you more and the energy companies more. For prepayment meter customers, energy companies need to maintain and service prepayment meters and the network of payment points.