Prepaid Energy and Low Income Assistance Programs

Topics Vital to the Future of Electric Service in the U.S.

Washington, DC … DEFG, a management consulting firm specializing in energy, runs the Prepay Energy Working Group, the industry’s leading forum for exploration of prepaid energy offerings. The Prepay Energy Working Group released two white papers on topics vital to the future of prepaid electric service in the U.S.: “Prepaid Energy and Low Income Assistance Programs,” by Stephanie Chen, an attorney and advocate with the Greenlining Institute, and “Prepaid Energy: A Regulatory Path Forward,” by Cindy Boland O’Dwyer, an attorney and Vice President with DEFG.

Prepaid Energy and Low Income Assistance Programs: Ms. Chen, who directs the Greenlining Institute’s advocacy in energy and telecommunications policy, and serves as lead counsel at the California Public Utilities Commission and the FCC, finds that there are difficulties when translating assistance programs from a traditional postpaid model to a prepaid service model. The paper explores how to maximize access to assistance for low income prepaid customers. Ms. Chen identifies challenges and sets forth recommended best practices.

Prepaid Energy: A Regulatory Path Forward: Ms. O’Dwyer frames the big questions around the handling of new payment and communication channels, and advanced capabilities such as remote service disconnection and reconnection. Following a close examination of the service rules and consumer protections most pertinent to prepaid energy offerings, Ms. O’Dwyer presents a path forward with proposed policy recommendations.

The Prepay Energy Working Group is currently in its third year. To ensure a broad spectrum of perspectives and experiences, working group members include utilities, energy retailers, regulators, consumer advocates, and metering and software vendors. For more, information regarding the working group’s efforts, please contact Ms. O’Dwyer, codwyer@defg.local.

DEFG is making the documents available to the public at no charge on its website: www.defgllc.com.

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