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PREPAID


Is OEC’s PrePaid program right for you? O


By Brianna Wall


EC in 2006 became one of the first electric co-ops in the nation to offer a prepaid


billing option. Members only had one option prior to the introduction of the PrePaid program – to pay for electricity used aſter-the-fact, sometimes being quite surprised when high bills arrived in the mail. Te PrePaid program has


revolutionized the way today’s members pay their “bills.” It has also proven to be a more energy efficient option – members who pre-pay for their electricity consume 12 percent less electricity, most likely due to increased awareness. “Members realize by choosing


to pay in advance, they keep a more watchful eye on not only how much electricity they use, but when they


use it,” said Amy McElhany, manager of customer service. “Tis is very important during the summer months when electricity costs more during the peak aſternoon hours.” Rather than waiting to be


surprised by the amount of an electric bill, PrePaid members receive notifications by call, text or email when their balance reaches a low amount. Tey then proceed to make a payment – it can be a large or a small payment – to ensure their balance does not reach zero. If it does, their electricity goes off.


NO FEES “Te difference in a PrePaid


account being disconnected versus a traditionally-billed account being


disconnected is the lack of fees,” McElhany said. “All a PrePaid member is required to do to reconnect his or her service is make a payment that puts the account balance back in the green. On the other hand, a traditional account is charged fees.” Te digital technology used to


communicate with PrePaid meters is a lot less costly and allows for a much faster response time.


NO DEPOSITS When a new member calls to


connect service, they are likely to be quoted a security deposit. Tey now have the option to forego the deposit and pay a much smaller amount to start a PrePaid account.


12


OKLAHOMA ELECTRIC CO-OP NEWS • FEBRUARY 2015


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