The most recent survey by The Irish League of Credit Unions shows that nearly 40% of Irish people are still struggling to pay their bills on time and have to sacrifice their spending in other areas to get back on top of their bill payments.

The survey also reveals that hard-pressed householders are considering opting for pre-paid electricity meters in a bid to control costs. It revealed that of those who had already switched to pre pay electricity, 20% believed that pre pay was more expensive, 57% thought it cost the same but felt that they had more control over the usage and it made you very conscious of switching things off. 23% of people who have switched felt that it was cheaper. The reality is, that it is more expensive to buy your electricity through a pre pay meter than by bill pay. Irrespective of the unit rates that are being charged, there is an additional charge of 37.5 cent per day which is the prepayment service charge which equates to €137 per year. This will be charged every day regardless of whether you are using it or not and is not charged to people on Bill Pay.

Although people feel the pre-pay option helps them be in control of their spending perhaps investing in a monitor such as The Owl, which is a wireless monitor allowing you to see how much electricity you can save by switching appliances off. You can see how much it is costing you to boil the kettle or iron a shirt. Knowledge is key, and by knowing the cost of every electrical item in your home, it will help to rid you of those bad habits such as leaving that TV on standby.

Controlling your energy costs by looking at how you can reduce them is by far the best way to reducing your costs. That, and always looking around for the best rates. Pre Pay rates are generally charged at the standard rate set by either Electric Ireland or Bord Gais, you cannot avail of the better rates offered on Bill Pay if you switch over to Pre Pay and you will be paying at a more expensive rate than you might need to. The answer to the question is Bill Pay!