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ScottishPower customers will be able to buy their energy by the day

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
16/09/2016
Millions of ScottishPower customers will be able to buy days or weeks’ worth of gas and electricity upfront as part of its move to make energy bills simpler.

ScottishPower has launched ‘PowerUp’ giving its existing five million account holders the chance to buy days or weeks of gas and electricity via a free app.

Using a model similar to how people fill up their cars at the petrol station, the Big Six provider said customers will be able to buy fuel upfront at a set price in packages from one day, to a month, up to 180 days.

It said it’s responding to customer feedback calling for more transparency and simpler billing when it comes to understanding and managing energy use.

How will it work?

It’s for existing ScottishPower customers only and you’ll need to have an iOS or Android mobile device. The payment method isn’t yet available – it’s expected to launch in early October – but you can register your interest online now.

Once you’ve downloaded the free app, you’ll be able to buy a package of gas and electricity (dual fuel only) ranging from one day to a month, three months or six months and ScottishPower said the bigger package you buy, the more you could save.

You’ll be able to track how much energy you use and if, for example, you buy energy for 30 days but enter meter readings which show you’re using less than forecast, the gauge would be readjusted and you could actually have more days’ worth of use.

ScottishPower confirms there are no standing charges and said the PowerUp packages will include its “most competitive prices”. If you have difficulty paying for your energy upfront for the next bundle, you won’t be cut off in the meantime as you’ll revert back to your usual tariff or the standard variable rate, depending on what you’re currently signed up to.

Neil Clitheroe, global retail director, said: “Energy bills have consistently been voted the most confusing bills that consumers receive. Currently most people either pay a flat amount each month by direct debit or receive a quarterly bill in arrears. Either way there is very little connection between actual energy usage and how much a customer pays. Both of these factors have helped contribute to many customers feeling disengaged from their energy usage and indeed their energy supplier.

“But filling up a car at the petrol station is different. When we top up, we don’t tend to think about the 40 litres of unleaded in the tank – instead we think about the £50 that it has cost and how long it will last. Yet we all know that if we travel a bit further or faster than usual, that it will last a bit less than usual. Our fuel gauge then keeps us right in terms of when we next need to top up. Customers are far more engaged with efficiently managing their petrol consumption, and we think that will work for gas and electricity at home.”

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