Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Switch on to electric online trial

More than half of NIE Energy customers are earning discounts because of the way they pay for their power.

Now the company has introduced a way for customers to pay for their power as they go using an online payment service.

Not only that, but it is experimenting with a way for customers to check online and see how much electricity is being used in their house at any one time - and Belfast Telegraph readers can be among the first to try the system out.

Paying with a keypad or direct debit can already earn discounts because they are cheaper ways for the company to collect payments and don't incur expensive transaction fees.

Chris Bell, from NIE Energy, said: "We have more than 200,000 keypad customers who pay as they go for the electricity they use. Up to now, they could buy their top-ups at Paypoint and PayZone shops and more recently over the phone with our 24/7 automated telephone service.

"So many households now have access to the web that we thought it was about time we launched a way for people to buy their electricity online at www.nieenergy.co.uk."

The pay-as-you-go keypad meter comes with an in-house display showing electricity use, helping households to manage their energy needs. The keypad is free to install and can save around £10 a year for a typical household as it offers a 2.5% discount off the standard price of electricity.

For anyone who wants to take it a step further, NIE Energy has launched a trial for an online system that will tell exactly how much electricity is being used in the home at any time.

"Smart has an advanced communications system which collects data and allows customers to monitor how much their electricity use costs," Mr Bell said.

Electricity bills can be viewed online and households can check power consumption by the half-hour, hour, day, week, month and quarter.

NIE Energy will send an email when the bill is ready to view online and payment will be made by a fixed direct debit amount each month for the trial.

The trial will last for around 12 months, beginning with NIE Energy replacing the existing meter with a new smart meter at a convenient time.

To apply for the trial email smartmeter@nieenergy.co.uk or call Emma on 9068 5028.

Numbers of trial are limited to the first 200 to apply.

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