Understanding the impact of smart prepayment on fuel poverty

October 2016 | Nicky Hodges, Simon Roberts, Karen Smith, Toby Bridgeman, Nick Banks, Molly Asher

Prepayment (PPM) customers are known to be poorly served by the energy market, paying higher tariffs, having difficulty switching tariff and/or supplier and being at risk of self-disconnection. Numbers of PPM customers are rising (due to debt recovery) and there has been an early focus on PPM customers through the smart meter rollout.

This research will provide an early-stage snapshot of the impact of smart meter technology on PPM households. It will examine industry-wide statistical trends, and combine customer interviews with analysis of customer data to ascertain the extent to which benefits claimed from smart PPM (real-time data, flexible top-up options, greater control and reduced bills) are being realised and if benefits outweigh negatives (e.g. higher tariffs).


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