Before venturing to discuss some of the benefits you stand to get by opting for a prepaid electricity supply regime, it would be a good idea to briefly acquaint ourselves with the concept of prepaid electricity; for the benefit of those who may be coming across it for their very first time. Simply put, in a prepaid electricity supply regime, you pay for your electricity before you get to use it.
Normally, the system (at a domestic level) is based on a ‘smart meter’ system. The way it works is that you ‘purchase some electricity’ by way of buying a scratch card bearing a number which, upon being fed into the smart meter, procures you a number of kilowatt-hours. This is very much like the way a scratch card number, fed to your prepaid mobile phone system, procures a number of minutes of ‘talk-time’ on the phone. You then expend the kilowatt hours you so procure, and once you get the feeling that they are almost running out, you purchase some more.
We talk of prepaid electricity supply as opposed to the traditional postpaid electricity supply system, where you would use electricity for a given period of time, have a meter-reader come to your house and take note of your electricity usage, before being sent an electricity usage bill, which you could then repay.
In some countries, electricity users have the option of either using the prepaid or the postpaid system. Finding yourself in such a situation, you could end up being spoilt for choice. And to help you eventually make a decision on which way to go (prepaid or postpaid), here are some of the benefits you stand to gain, by opting for prepaid electricity supply regime.
1. You gain a way of controlling your electricity expenditure: one of the most commonly voiced disadvantages of the postpaid electricity supply regime is that it robs users of control over their electricity expenditure. That way, you end up using electricity blindly, sometimes overspending unawares – only to be slapped with a hefty bill at the end of the month. In a prepaid electricity supply regime, you get a way to keep day to day tabs on your electricity usage, and to be able to see -at a glance when you are overspending on electricity and put in place instant corrective measures.
2. You get to avoid the often heavy penalties levied for late electric bill repayment: most users of postpaid electricity end up, soon or later, having to suffer penalties for late payment of electricity bills. These are penalties you completely insure yourself from, by opting for prepaid electricity supply. The only penalty you could suffer, in a prepaid electricity supply system, if you don’t recharge your supply in good time, is that of being cut off from the grid. You don’t, however, suffer any monetary penalties.
3. You get to avoid the potential security risks posed by meter readers: in jurisdictions where postpaid electricity supply regimes reign, the working of the system usually depends on electric meter readers being sent to the electricity users’ houses, to read their meters. Sometimes, these meter readers have been known to abuse their privileged access to premises to perpetrate crimes, or to obtain ‘intelligence’ information for future perpetration of crimes. But prepaid electricity supply regimes do away with the need for meter readers, and the potential risks posed by some of them, as the (prepaid) system is completely automated.