Why would a customer want to prepay for his or her electric power service? A summary by Oracle, from a white paper describing how smart meters can enable prepaid power plans, says:
Prepayment is especially popular with customers who:
- Have difficulty coming up with money for all the deposits typically required to rent a new apartment.
- Room with others and want to ensure that no one moves out without paying a fair share of the utility bill.
- Are on their own for the first time and who have no idea how much utilities will cost.
- Need to win the cooperation of children in reducing energy budgets. Children may be far more responsive to an in-home display showing little television time remaining than they are to parental admonitions to turn off unneeded lights.
- Need to ensure that they do not inadvertently exceed tightly budgeted amounts for utilities.
- Work in the cash economy.
- Do not have bank accounts.
- Own rental vacation property. Prepayment ensures that each renter pays an appropriate price for energy.
- Want to reduce energy use for either financial or environmental reasons. Prepayment provides a discipline that many customers find helpful.
- Pay clients’ utility bills. A charitable organization can credit money directly to a client account or provide clients with non-redeemable payment tokens. In either case, the organization’s donors are assured that the money is neither diverted to other purposes nor used for reconnect charges.
From an Oracle White Paper, “Serve Prepaid Customers Without Prepayment Meters” (2009).