Saturday, January 03, 2009

Coin Meter

Just a quick post to ask if anyone has any information about electricity supplied through a coin meter? I went to see the new flat again this morning, the landlord showed me how to use the electricity coin meter but my hands simply are not strong enough to turn the thingy to get the coin to drop in. I'm very unhappy about the idea of replacing it with a prepayment card meter because they are extortionately expensive, but realise that may be my only option.

Whilst I'm fairly happy that the landlords are charging the same price as the electricity companies per Kwh, obviously not being able to work the coin meter is a major problem. Relying on friends to fill it for me on an ad hoc basis as some have suggested is unacceptable, I can't cope with the idea of living somewhere the power could go out at any time and I won't be able to do anything about it. The landlord, understandably, won't change the meter himself as the electricity companies wanted £500+ to do so, but is quite happy for me to have it changed if I can find out how to get the electricity company to do so, as long as there is no charge to the landlord.

I've tried google but can't seem to find anything about regulations relating to coin meters other than the standards about cost etc. If anyone has any advice or suggestions I'd be very grateful. Thank you!

11 comments:

Mr. Nighttime said...

Wait...you mean you have an electrical meter that works essentially like a parking meter??? I've never heard of such a thing. Is this common place in England, or the U.K. in general.

I'm glad you found a new flat, but there obviously has to be a better way to insure that your lights don't get turned off. You're in England, not North Korea for god's sake!

WendyCarole said...

I didn't realise that there were still meters that were coin operated. Our one used to be a cardboard rectangle that we paid £5 for. Then this got upgraded to a plastic key which you can credit with any amount from a £1 upwards. How old is the meter? We were told a couple of years ago it had to be changed by law as it was over ten years old. (no cost to us). I can't believe that they would replace it with one that used actual money

frogpondsrock said...

Sorry that I cant help you Bendy..
Gah a coin meter is like something out of a Hitchcock movie..

...the tension mounts as our heroine tries feverishly to turn the power back on.... xoxo

elise said...

Sorry B,
Can't help you specifically but can you petition the electric company for a disability-friendly meter? Always has to be something.
I am very happy for you that you've found a place that you can afford though!
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Disabled Living Foundation Helpline Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm
- tel: 0845 130 9177
May be worth giving a ring for info - on their website they do go on about a multi function knob turner! but can't find it anywhere. You are right extremely difficult to find any info on this one. Apart from rining a utility supplier direct and ask to speak to priority services for disabled section, am not sure. Achelois

Rick said...

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kingmagic said...

Lil Sis...pre-paid 'leccy' meters are a rip off as they cost more than standard meters. Be careful about the supplier.

In the meantime I seem to remember a device for turning keys that were stiff. A bit like a lever that fitted over the key and due to its length gave more torque. (Keep it clean!)

Will pop round and put some shelves up for you and the odd spot of painting when I get time. Take care lil sis.
Big Bro xx

Mysterious G said...

Bendylass, lo

I don't think the coin meter is to line the landlords coffers its owned and operated by the leccy board. As I understand it prepay meters are installed in sites where the payment of the bill hasn't been done on several occasions or an area where bill dodging is likely. (Quite common in student digs for example). It may be worth calling the power supplier and explaining your predicament you may be able to get them to switch you to a contract meter.

However until then (and assuming they wont) I think kingmagic is onto a winner. There are devices which can be used to assist in the turning of things, just give you more mechanical advantage on the twirly bit, so effortless to turn. I'll have a mooch and see if I can find owt.

You could possibly use an adjustable spanner or some sort until then to make it easier to use perhaps.

Ben said...

Hi Bendylady,

I work in an advice agency and cannot find *anything* relating to coin meters - so I worry whether they are still actually legal. Everything refers to either coin, card or token meters, so yours must be ancient. It might be worth asking the landlord the last time the meter was checked for accuracy and safety.

Two things that might help (lifted from the Fuel Rights Handbook, published by the Child Poverty Action Group)- the FRB states that you can apply for a Community Care Grant for the costs of 'reconnection' - which I think you could argue this is, or a Budgeting Loan on the same grounds (fuel reconnection should be dealt with a high priority for BL applications). Obviously your entitlement depends on your other circumstances (other benefits etc) and the process of applying is grim, but it could be a way of getting the funds to replace the meter.

Secondly it might be worth contacting the supplier to see if they have a grants-making arm or charitable trust (both EDF and British Gas do). these trusts are more used to clearing peoples arrears to prevent disconnection, but it might be worth a punt for the cost of replacing the meter.

Good luck - and I hope you enjoy your new home!

steph said...

Bendy

If your new landlord won't update the meter when it patently should have been done years ago, then I would be wary of other problems which may emerge with this flat.

I know you haven't a lot of choice but tread carefully!

Fingers crossed it'll work out. xxx

Slip said...

Call the power folks back and tell them that your meter won't take coins.Something must be wrong with it because the power is staying on. Maybe they will come faster if they think they are getting screwed.

Happy New Year Bendy!