I can no longer pay for my energy bill quarterly and via cheque. Does any provider accept this now?

I believe I have been overcharged by my energy supplier for usage this month and now it is chasing payment – even though I am querying the amount.

I usually pay quarterly, by cheque, but seemingly this is becoming more difficult to do so.

I also want the energy firm to do their job and come round and read my meter, rather than expect me to do it. This used to be standard practice, it worked fine and was convenient for me.

Are energy firms still allowing customers to pay quarterly and by cheque or is this too much to ask for now?

Consumers are complaining that they can no longer pay quarterly by cheque for their energy

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: This has been a recurring complaint of This is Money readers with many energy customers frustrated they can no longer pay quarterly or by cheque.

Many wish to do so, like yourself, in order to check they are paying the correct amount on their bills and are not overpaying unnecessarily.

Others have said they do not like energy firms being able to take money from their bank account automatically.

While some may see this as old fashioned, there are a number of people who are becoming frustrated at their lack of options with some suppliers insisting on receiving monthly payments online.

Another main concern is those not wishing to have a smart meter installed, a device which will automatically tell suppliers of a households usage.

Reasons for not wanting them include the first generation of meters making it hard to switch supplier, and others simply believing it won’t save them any money.   

This is Money contacted several major energy providers to find out if they offer quarterly payments by cheque and if not, why not.

We also asked if the suppliers are still reading meters for their customers.  

Some customers want their supplier to read their gas meter, rather than doing it themselves

Some customers want their supplier to read their gas meter, rather than doing it themselves

Octopus Energy 

Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Yes 

The supplier said that while direct debit and self-reading of meters keeps costs down and helps it keep prices low, customers can pay quarterly, and via cheque if they wish to do so.

Where customers cannot read meters themselves, or where they choose not to send readings for a long period, it does provide meter readers.

British Gas

Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Yes 

Customers can pay quarterly and by cheque if they prefer and it does still send meter readers around.

For someone who has a normal credit meter (non-smart) it will send someone every six months.


Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? No 

Customers can pay by cheque monthly – but not quarterly. However, there is the option to pay quarterly by variable Direct Debit. Eon did not elaborate on why this is the case. 


Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Yes 

Ovo Energy supports both monthly and quarterly billing and payment and accepts payment by Direct Debit, card payment, cheque and BACS.

With regards to meter readings, Ovo said it still sends routine meter readers to properties every six to 12 months, however more frequent readings are available via the Priority Services Register for anyone who has difficulty reading their meter.   

Depending on which provider customers are with will depend on how they can pay their bills

Depending on which provider customers are with will depend on how they can pay their bills


Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Not clear

The challenger supplier encourages members to pay monthly by direct debit or, if they have a top-up meter, by topping up which it says helps keep prices low for everyone. 

However it does also offer consumers the option to pay by any Post Office offering the MoneyGram service, cheque, bank transfer, standing order or over the phone. 

It also offers flexible payments where members can apply to make weekly payments instead of paying monthly.

For members with prepayment meters, it offers different pay-as-you-go top-up options depending on which type of gas or electricity meter they have, including online, through our app, or in a shop.

It added it does send engineers to visit a home to take a meter reading, install a meter or fix one if it’s faulty. 

It can also organise regular meter readings to be taken by a trained engineer for members who are elderly, disabled, chronically sick, or otherwise need an extra hand.

Scottish Power

Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Yes 

The supplier said customers can still pay quarterly and they can still pay by cheque. 

It added if someone is an online customer, it will read their meter annually.

If there is quarterly billing, it will read the meter every three months. Meanwhile, if customers have a smart meter, it won’t call to read meter if it is receiving readings from the device.


Can pay by cheque? Yes

Can pay quarterly? Yes (once signed up as a customer)  

The firm said customers can still pay for their energy quarterly. However, whilst this option isn’t available to people when they initially sign up to EDF, households can ask to switch to quarterly billing once they are a customer.

It added all customers who do not have a direct debit set up can pay by cheque.

With regards to meter readings, it said it encourages all customers to provide their own meter readings to help keep their account up to date. 

However, if a customer cannot access their meter or, isn’t in a position to provide a meter reading, it will send a meter reader to their property.

Grace Gausden adds: It appears most energy firms are fairly flexible when it comes to paying quarterly and by cheque, but it is likely that staff will be keener to get you to pay monthly, and by direct debit, so bear that in mind and stick your ground to pay how you want. 

You didn’t say in your email to me that you have been refused to pay by cheque or quarterly, but just that the firm in question is now becoming a bit more awkward about you doing it – a move, presumably, to try and get you on direct debit.  

Given the responses above, the vast majority accept quarterly cheque payments – so, if you find yourself struggling to do this or penalised for doing so, get in touch: editor@thisismoney.co.uk 

Tom Lyon, energy director at Comparison Tech, adds: Historically, when it came to paying for your energy, all energy companies would allow you to choose how you wanted to settle your bill, whether that was on a quarterly, or monthly basis, and whether you wanted to pay by cheque, direct debit or other payment method.

However, as the number of energy suppliers grew and the way those companies operated changed, increasingly we’ve seen providers change their accepted method of payments to direct debit or pre-paid, and to a monthly or pay as you go service.

This is largely to help them operate in a more streamlined manner, but came with the added benefit of reduced costs and lower bills for their customers.

Customers who prefer to pay their bills quarterly, or by cheque, have seen their options reduce, as they do not have access to the whole market, and inevitably pay more for the service too.

If a customer wishes to continue to pay by cheque or on a quarterly basis, they will have to use one of the energy companies which allow them to do so, as energy providers are not obliged to offer all payment services to their customers.

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