Some of the developments we are seeing in the electricity supply system are things that, just a few decades ago, we never thought we would ever live to see. There are very few people who can’t remember the days when every electricity user used to have an analog meter installed at their premises, and when a meter reader would promptly arrive every month to take readings from the gadgets. A bill would then be sent, and the users given a number of days to pay it, or have their electricity supply (physically) disconnected. The more imaginative of us would try to dream of a system where people could prepay for their lamp shade finials electricity – but those were dreams we quickly banished, on account of their not being congruent with the reality.
A lot has changed since then. Today, the prepaid electricity schemes that were the stuff of dreams then are a reality. And as that option of pre-paying for electricity usage becomes available to an ever increasing number of people, we are seeing more and more of them taking it up. There are a few jurisdictions where users have no option but to use the prepaid electricity scheme – it being the only scheme available. In most jurisdictions, however, users have had the option of either remaining on the postpaid system or going on the prepaid system. And given that choice, many opt for the latter. It is that, then, which brings us to the question as to why more people are opting for the prepaid electricity supply schemes.
As it turns out, one of the factors that draw many people to the prepaid electricity schemes is the convenience made possible by such electricity pre-payment. This is not to be taken lightly, especially keeping in mind how inconvenient the bill repayment business associated with the postpaid systems can be. Many people find it easy to go to a shop (or even to get online or on their phone), ‘purchase electricity,’ load it on their meters and start making use of it. What they don’t find convenient is the idea of having to wait for the electricity meter reader to read their meters, then wait for their bills to be calculated, and then still go to the power supply offices, queue, and await to make the electricity bill repayments. It is simply too inconvenient.
The prepaid electricity supply systems are also more accurate, and virtually immune to the overpayment/underpayment issues that tended to bedevil the postpaid systems, due to human errors in the reading of the meters. In the postpaid system, the whole thing is automated, and there is simply no room for such mistakes; which tended to be rather costly and inconvenient to get resolved.
There is also the electricity expenditure control, made possible by the prepaid system, which sees many opt for such prepaid electricity schemes; rather than the postpaid electricity schemes which rob them of virtually all control over their electricity expenditure.
In the worst case scenarios, where one is completely unable to pay for their electricity, the situation faced by those who on prepaid electricity schemes tends to be better than the situation faced by those on the postpaid system. Those on the postpaid schemes will tend to have their electricity supply physically disconnected, and getting it reconnected once you have money can be one of the most frustrating exercises. That is not the case with the prepaid system. In the prepaid system, if you are unable to afford your electricity, you eventually run out of units, and get (logically) disconnected from the system, without being physically disconnected. When you eventually get money, all you do is purchase new electricity units, load them onto your meter and instantly get up and running again.