Can only buy electric tokens from LL.

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  • Can only buy electric tokens from LL.

    Hi, I've a small problem if someone could advise me please.

    About two years ago, as part of essential maintenance to the electricity supply of my rented accommodation, the electric meter was changed from being coin operated to one which credit is added by inserting single use cards. While I am happy to use a token meter, I can only purchase these cards from my LL which leaves me in the position of having to arrange buying these cards when I can contact the LL instead of at my convenience.

    On my most recent purchase of these cards from the LL, I asked about where else I might be able to purchase these cards from only to be told ‘nowhere‘, that an account is required with the company to purchase them (I‘m not sure whether this is the meter company or utility provider). Also, a couple of times I’ve called round to buy some of these cards, the LL lives in the property attached to the one I’m renting, they haven’t been in and I’ve been forced to keep on trying until I succeed. The number of visits sometimes required to get electric tokens was also brought up with the LL. The LL’s solution, if I find myself running low I can text/call them and they will slip them under the door to my flat and I should do likewise with the money for these cards. Although I appreciate the willingness of the LL to help me out (I must point out that they have always been helpful and not even close to being as unapproachable as some of the LL‘s described in this forum), I have had trouble with doing something similar with a previous LL (could someone please roll out the good ol’ ‘I’ve checked twice and there’s no money there.’) and point blank refuse to do this.

    To sum up, I dislike being unable to freely purchase electricity whenever and from whoever I chose and have the following questions for the forum:

    1. Am I entitled to contact details for the company that the LL buys these cards from?

    2. Am I entitled to choose whichever utility provider I wish to?

    3. Am I within my rights to petition the LL to change the token meter to one which I can buy credit for in much the same way as I buy my gas credit i.e. at most shops?

    4. What are the rights of the LL in this case, can they simply refuse/ignore my requests?

    If anyone can find a question that I haven’t, but should have, asked or any other relevant information on this topic then please feel free to add them.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and thank you in advance for any replies.

  • #2
    I think it will depend if your flat has its own independant supply, or it comes off the LL's own supply. If the latter, probably not much you can do.

    Its worth phoning up the electric company to see what info they can let you have, or getting an electrician to look at the system.

    I had a flat that came off the main house supply (had a coin box that the LL could empty.) We later replaced it and the electricity board made us dig a new supply in through the garden. There is no way they could/would change the meter otherwise.

    I dont think your LL will be in a hurry to go through all that.
    All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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    • #3
      If your supply comes off the metered supply of the landlord, there is not a lot you or he can do unless he wants to increase your rent a bit and include free electricity. Your landlord is doing his best to inconvenience you as little as possible. It it impossible for you to purchase a number of cards and then top up your supply from your landlord while you still have plenty left so that you can catch him when he is in residence?

      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


      • #4
        Prepayment Sub Metering


        Having worked in both the utility sector and residential lettings, this is not an uncommon issue.

        It sounds like the metering system you have is a sub meter running from the main meter at the property. The landlord or his predecessor have installed the sub meter as a cost saving option to the alternative of having a new supply installed at the property (up to 10 times more expensive to install). The landlord then purchases a bulk of tokens from his supplier to re-sell to you to cover the cost of the electricity used in your flat.

        A tenant cannot purchase tokens from the supplier, as this would not allow the landlord to recover the costs of the electricity used by yourself.

        At this point, you have 3 options:

        1. Continue with the token meter, and try to keep a stock of tokens in case of emergency.
        2. Ask the landlord if he is willing to install a credit meter and bill you monthly for your usage (unlikely).
        3. Ask the landlord to have a new supply installed by the local PES (Public Electricity Supplier). This option may cost in excess of £2000, as they may have to take a feed from the main road.

        Personally, I would aim to keep a stock of tokens.

        Hope this has helped.


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