Meter-o-Logy: Getting The Hang Of Meters

By on November 14, 2012

I was humming the B-movie 80’s song, “Switch On, Switch Off” the other day and was in a hesitant frame of mind regarding going home to find that my electricity bill has shot up. I was calculating my other expenses and extravagances, including that Nine Iron I got on sale; that I knew I shouldn’t have.

Too much partying has left me in quite a hole at this moment in time. I am gradually managing to get my life back on track though.  It’s all the more difficult as I am living alone without even a flat mate to share expenses. At least this month’s rent is sorted; I hope!

How I wish my meter reading was also fixed so that I would not have to worry about how much I have to spend every month. Especially, since my career path does not permit me to lead a sedentary lifestyle at the moment.

One of the first things I looked at, or had thrust in my face on the high street, was my utilities; aren’t those utility comparison agents annoying? I started looking at my options so here is my lowdown.

Smart meters
I don’t think I will be getting a raise anytime soon so I’ve begun thinking about getting a smart meter just like my neighbour.  Smart meters take on-the-dot readings from where they’re at and tell you exactly what you’ve consumed. This translates to fewer or even no more visits from the electric meter guy and no estimated costs as you pay only for what you actually use.

Prepaid Meters
Prepaid meters are just like pre-paid mobile services wherein you pay money upfront and use only how much you’ve already paid for.  If you use the credit up then you have to depend on sunlight and candles for lighting effects that romantically take you back to the dark ages and the Game of Thrones without the fancy armor, magic, or dragons.

This has its obvious advantages and disadvantages. You get to keep track of exactly what you’re spending on electricity, but then of course, there’s the risk of running out of credit when you really need the power.

Pros and cons of each
In my humble opinion nothing beats standard meters.  Should the electric or gas company decide to offer a nice fixed energy rate as a thank-you note to their subscribers, you will have to have a contract to benefit.

If you are one among the many who have been forced to have or who have opted for a prepaid meter, I wish you good luck as far as reloading them is concerned, because an individual’s energy consumption is just like life, you never know if you have paid too much or too little. Err on the side of caution and always purchase more than you need. With England v India coming up in the Test Matches, Champions League and a lot more you do not want your power to cut off just when you are cheering your team.

Are there any advantages of prepaid… I really cannot think of any?

Image: Microsoft

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Phil Turner has had enough of meters and is planning on going solar as soon as he can sort out the finance for photovoltaic panels.

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