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Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

Steve
Pro
Posts: 6,680
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Registered: 13-07-2009

Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

So from October the 15th I think It Is my energy bills Is going up In price, Seemingly when I charge my Key on or after then will such price Increase take affect, Now I have over one hundred pound In my Gas meter so If I was to top up some more ( before Oct 15th ) could I put off the new charges? As no key would be going In my meter as I would of bought plenty In before the price Increase?
19 REPLIES
kmilburn
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

From what I'm aware,   it won't make any difference because it's the meter that knows the unit cost, and the meter will be updated with the appropriate values.
Therefore,  once it has been updated,  any money on the meter will be consumed at the new rate.
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

@steve_m
I would say tour assumption could be correct as the new key must configure the rates. I would top it with more credit and wait into you reach the emergency limit before inserting the new key.
Do you ever get any credit back after the meter is read? If so then they may use to to calculate your usage through the transition period and give you a reduction in this credit.
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

Quote from: kmilburn
From what I'm aware,   it won't make any difference because it's the meter that knows the unit cost, and the meter will be updated with the appropriate values.
Therefore,  once it has been updated,  any money on the meter will be consumed at the new rate.

How are the rates updated?
Steve
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

Quote from: itsme
Do you ever get any credit back after the meter is read?
No, I am on prepay meters so any credit gets used .
@kmilburn According to the letter from Scottish Hydro It says, Once I top up before on or after the date of the price Increase the charges would be loaded on to my key so when I go home and pop key In then new charges will apply, It baffles me as I thought they could and would do this remotely but not according to what the letter tells me.
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

@steve_m
If you see the other post about electricity suppliers you see that for my sins I have a job reading electric and gas meters. I read a lot of pre-payment meters, which I have not worked out why yet but one customer asked me how could she get the credit that her provider had given her. So I assume that when meters are read it could trigger some sort of discount depending on usage.
kmilburn
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

The how and when the meter knows about the price change is the key issue,  and it probably depends on the technology being used as to how and when it's actually done.
Being done via the key is probably the easiest or them,  but depending on what information it requires,  it's possible they could preload the information (i.e. when you top up before the rise) and it'll change automatically.  Ultimately,  it's a 'suck it and see' issue,  if you win, it was a good choice.
Give it a few years,  and once smart meters are installed, they will be able to update the meters whenever they want.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

yes they make the changes when you fill the key.  I switched to npower and had to get one as it took them 6 months to send a bill.  The engineer that fitted it warned me that when prices change, it is done when you fill the key, so he advised to always buy as much as I could if a price change was due.
Unvalued customer since 2001 funding cheap internet for others / DSL/Fibre house move 24 month regrade from 8th May 2017
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

For my sins in my proper job before downsizing job I did some external validation work for the designer of the key and card systems for a company based in Felixstowe, this was in 1989 and most of the configuration is done through the key.
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

Quote from: kmilburn
The how and when the meter knows about the price change is the key issue,  and it probably depends on the technology being used as to how and when it's actually done.
Being done via the key is probably the easiest or them,  but depending on what information it requires,  it's possible they could preload the information (i.e. when you top up before the rise) and it'll change automatically.  Ultimately,  it's a 'suck it and see' issue,  if you win, it was a good choice.
Give it a few years,  and once smart meters are installed, they will be able to update the meters whenever they want.

Probably could pre-program meters with price increases as most pre-paymrnt  meter have real time clocks in them but not sure how many older meters are out there they don't and the logistical nightmare of supporting different technologies. There are still meters in use that are 30+ years old.
RPMozley
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

If the key really does contain 'pricing' info, then one would assume that it could be 'hacked' or modified in some way to cheat the system. Surely the key just contains energy usage that has been purchased at that particular moment's price?
Ah but then I'm making it easier to hack with less info, you might say but it's actually more difficult to decode the smaller it gets. Basically if you have 8 bits total and only 2 bits info, then that leaves 6 bits to obscure the data.
itsme
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

You are not just purchasing energy usage with Pre-payment meters. They are used to pay debt off as well so the charging can get a bit complicated. 
Steve
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

Quote from: RPMozley
If the key really does contain 'pricing' info, then one would assume that it could be 'hacked' or modified in some way to cheat the system.
Depends what you mean by that? If you have ten quid on the key but twenty quid goes In your meter It doesn't take long for the Hydro to put the maths together, Every penny has to match what goes In the meter and only by your own key/card.
David_W
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Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

It's a contract issue I'm going to guess.  You have purchased electricity from your supplier at the rate of (say) 5p/kwh, if they raise it to 6p/kwh you would need to purchase it at 6p/kwh, they can't change the price of something you have already bought.  Another example, you go into a computer store and a pricing mistake has the price of an iPad at £50 instead of £500, once it's gone through the till and you've paid, that iPad is yours, they can't then say "sorry we made a mistake, give it back" because you have a contract which is complete once you pay.  I guess you could look at it like petrol, you fill your car with £100 worth of petrol the day before a 3p hike, the garage won't pop around the next day and make you pay 3p/litre more because of the price hike, you already own the petrol, in the same way you already own X amount of electricity at the original rate.
Community Veteran
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Re: Pre-Payment meters and Price Increase

The key gets programmed/updated when its filled, they can change the maximum emergency amount[engineer set it to £10 but they can change it] and also the charge rate.per hour.
Unvalued customer since 2001 funding cheap internet for others / DSL/Fibre house move 24 month regrade from 8th May 2017