Prepay energy, a voluntary service, requires a customer to pay before using electric service. This simple payment option creates a paradigm shift for the utility industry which has relied on a post-pay model for decades. The Prepay Energy Working Group is a unique group of industry professionals focused on state-of-the-art policies and practices.
Members of the Prepay Energy Working Group include representative from utilities, energy retailers, regulators, consumer advocates, and metering and software vendors. Currently in its sixth year, the Prepay Energy Working Group conducts research around both the challenges and opportunities presented by prepaid service focusing on four tracks:
- Regulatory issues
- Consumer/market research
- Potential for an energy conservation impact
- Operational requirements or the business side
While still a nascent offering in most of North America, prepay electric service shows promise to increase customer satisfaction, reduce energy use, reduce bad debt and reduce utility cost of service. Our survey research indicates that consumers strongly correlate prepay electricity energy with convenience, increased control and budget management. The ability to use less energy and save money is a driving factor in satisfaction.