Fitting a new electricity meter

We’d like to install a pay as you go electricity meter into our airbnb chalet? We want to be able pay by debit card if at all possible. Does anybody any experience of this? (Or of any easy to pay meters)

Probably depends which country you are in @GNCrawford

Hello! I have never heard of this, but how interesting. Do you have more information to share? Will the house have a slight current when not occupied to keep from freezing? Will guests pay for their use (I’m assuming that is the reason for this?)?

In the UK. When we bought the chalet it had a pay as you go meter which worked by buying cards from post office. Bit of a pain but ideal for hosts - no big bills and all paid for by users… We had no complaints. Site owners changed and imposed British Gas meters. We had no bills for 3/4 years (despite asking ) now BG are demanding large payments, We now want to go back to a more modern from of PAYG metering

I wouldn’t recommend having a payg for guests - it will put some people off booking and could lead to problems if it is not easy for people to top up and people run out during their stay. @GNCrawford

You may not have had complaints but you don’t know how many didn’t book because of it.

Just build your utility costs into your day rates.

If you want to go down this path just call the utility provider and ask them.

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What is the real reason you want to go this route? I can only think of two: you don’t have to pay the bill yourself, and it encourages guests to conserve. But I would expect electricity from a PAYG meter to cost the guest more than you would have to pay for the same amount of electricity on a monthly bill from a regular meter. Is that not the case?

Also, isn’t the cost of the meter really high? Maybe it’s different in the U.K, but where I live the cost of a meter swap is prohibitive. Or is the PAYG meter owned by another company that is taking an additional commission from the electricity sold?

Thanks Brian

We are being overcharged by our supplier and have no control because meter was put in and is run by the landowners. Gas supplier bills them and they pass it on to us. We’ve never seen an actual bill. I suspect we are being overcharged not our gusests!

I don’t think meter installation is prohibitively expensive?

Oh, I see, you think the landowner is inflating the costs before passing them on to you. Have you checked if that’s regulated in some way.

It sounds like you have to install a new meter and at the same time bypass the landowner’s meter, right? That DOES seem prohibitively expensive. Or does the PAYG actually go to the landowner? If you would be dealing directly with the utility provider, then couldn’t you also go to a normal meter? I agree with @Helsi, you probably need to contact the utility provider to see what is even possible.

We’ve done that and the supplier has no record of the address! The plot is thickening…

Historically the holiday complex (about 30 chalets) was owned by one company who began to sell off individual properties… We bought one of those. New meters were installed about 7/8 years ago and despite contact asking for individual billing we never received it. So the bill has been paid by previous site owners (not chalet owners) and now new site owners are trying (we think) to recoup losses…

We bought the property about 10 years ago in pre-Air BnB days (it had a card operated elec meter) and now of course quite a few chalet owners are beginning to make a small income from AbnB.

We’ve been asked pay a large bill, which we are fighting. Hence the desire to take back control of our own meter…

Your situation sounds different from anything I’ve encountered. I think it makes perfect sense for you to pursue this and at least find out how much it would cost to install a new meter so you can take back control! And if it takes credit/debit cards and your guests are good with that, that will be very handy for you.

Just one question: If you get a PAYG meter, does that necessarily disconnect your chalet from the landowner’s meter? What I mean is this—are you certain that adding your own meter will disconnect you from theirs? No chance they could attempt to go on billing you?

We’re not sure at the moment Rebecca. just trying to sort it all out. The site owners say that the bill is £xxx and that British Gas will disconnect electricity if not paid by 7 Nov. We have not seen any bill from B Gas only a figure on paper from the site owners.

We called B Gas who

  • have no record of supplying elec to our address and
  • say they are not allowed to disconnect!

Have you thought about trying to change your supplier from BG? I recommend trying OVO or similar.

By doing so, you will soon find out what the actual situation really is. Armed with the information regarding who is ripping who off (usually BG), you can go to the regulator Ofgem with the issue.

Good luck. We have several chalet parks here on the Kent coast, and similar complaints are beginning to seep through.

Thanks Joan

The site is now on its third owners since we purchased.
Were trying to switch but we understand that any outstanding debt needs to be settled but as mentioned were in dispute as to how much we owe - We have seen no bills direct from supplier!

And as mentioned we called B Gas who

  • have no record of supplying elec to our address and
  • say they are not allowed to disconnect!

All bit tangled. Current site owners have said BG will terminate but it looks like that may be an idle threat but do we take the risk…?

That just sounds so very British Gas. Mr Joan did some data warehousing for them years ago, and says their records were an absolute mess, but only to the detriment of customers, not themselves s a supplier.

I think I would consider taking this up with Winifred Robinson, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s consumer programme “You and Yours”. It’s the sort of issue they love getting their teeth into investigating, plus they have good relationships with all the various regulators.

Good luck.