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Pay as you go utilities
Pay as you go utilities
Blogs » Mummy Blogger

Pay as you go utilities – Topping up the old-fashioned way

We’ve recently moved into a rented house. In lots of ways this is a very good thing; we’re not responsible for the maintenance, although obviously we are regularly responsible for scrubbing sticky marks off walls; there’s no grass to cut, although I do have to try and persuade the children NOT to bring all of the stones from the drive into the house, and we’re now an easy walk to school and all the local facilities, although I do need to remember to take a HUGE bag with me every day so I can house the amount of gubbins that they insist on bringing home with them every day – I mean do they really need lunch boxes?

What’s not so good is that for the time being we have pay as you go gas and electricity. For anyone not familiar with this concept – and personally I’m harking back to my student days to remember how it works – you have a card or a ‘key’ that contains a chip that talks to your meter. Apart from the fact that it costs a ridiculous amount of cash to run, and don’t quote me on this but it’s something like three times as expensive, it’s also a complete pain in the neck. Of course most people would argue that what you should do is top up each with £100 and you’ll be sorted for ages. But for one thing I don’t have £200 in my purse to spend on gas and electricity, but vitally, I really resent paying for them in advance.

Now you’d think that topping up your utilities would be really easy, a bit like topping up your mobile – wouldn’t you? Oh no, that couldn’t possibly be the case. Instead, when the tumble dryer suddenly stops working or your bath runs cold because there’s no gas, what you have to do is leave the house and find somewhere the does top ups.

In my case I trot down to my local shop on a weekly basis. And don’t even think about using your card to pay, because there’s an additional charge for paying by card – that’s a rant for another time – so you go via the ATM, withdraw the cash you need and trudge along to the shop, which luckily opens late at night and early in the morning. You purchase your £20 worth of energy (it’s a 25% / 75% split in favour of the gas in case you’re interested) and you head back for home desperate for that cup of tea that was only half boiled when the leccy ran out.

It’s a brave new world, but I think we’ll be ok…

Tuesday, 14th June 2011

Tags:   cash  /  PAYG  /  parenting  /  gas  /  electricity  /  utilities
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