05 Jul 2012
by Chris King
Far from what some may suppose, prepaid electricity service is a choice many utility customers – and utilities themselves –deem advantageous. Customers who use it in Arizona and Oklahoma overwhelmingly like this purely voluntary option.
ith many utilities deploying smart meters, the electricity industry has a new opportunity before it: the ability to implement opt-in prepayment service at little incremental cost and considerable benefit both to the utility and customers who choose to participate in the program. Because smart meters include remote-connect and disconnect capability, implementing prepayment as part of service setup, with immediate connection and disconnection – e.g., in the case of a customer’s move – is simply a software matter. But prepayment offers both benefits and challenges. Can it be an attractive option? This paper reviews the issues and tentatively concludes that the answer is “yes.”