Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Mary Pressler
Smart Meters and Prepaid Energy
A prepaid energy meter, also called a smart meter, is an electronic device that monitors and records your home energy usage. Local utility companies pay for and install these meters outside your home or apartment, and it’s likely you already have one if you live in Texas. The data collected by the meter is sent to the electricity company in real-time allowing them to execute new connections and disconnections within minutes. Smart meters make prepaid electricity possible.
How Does Prepaid Electricity Work?
Smart prepayment metering enables the power company to deduct daily payments from an account as an alternative to sending a monthly light bill. If you use prepaid electric at home, your provider charges you daily using a remote snapshot of your kWh usage. It’s up to the customer to recharge the account and avoid disconnections. However, advanced metering makes it easy to keep a close eye on your balance.
When you pay upfront for electric utilities, you avoid a credit check and contract. The convenience of smart metering makes electricity accessible to anyone regardless of income or employment status. Prepaid electricity is very popular in Texas, especially in large metro areas like Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth and college towns such as Waco, Arlington and Austin.
Managing Your Prepaid Electricity Budget
When signing up for prepaid energy, consider you are depositing cash to be spent on the power you will use. Your home’s smart meter records your electricity consumption throughout the day, and the provider uses this information to calculate the daily charges based on the prepaid electricity rate you agreed to.
Electricity rates in Texas change all the time, with the exception of fixed-rate electricity plans. Power is more expensive during summer, and also during peak demand hours on a daily basis. Conditions change for every electricity plan, so you should ask your prepaid light company exactly how you will be billed for the kilowatt-hours used.
The Benefits of Using Prepaid Energy in Texas
When people try prepaid electricity for the first time, a common concern is running into an empty account and having the power disconnected. However, surprise disconnections are unlikely to happen with daily text and e-mail notifications about your kWh consumption and account balance.
Prepaid electricity plans also give you the flexibility to switch power providers. Since you are paying in advance for the energy used, Texas electric companies do not impose a minimum contract duration. Also, since no credit verification is required, prepaid electricity can be a great option for students, renters or anyone with a tight budget.
Save On Energy with a Prepaid Lights Plan
A prepaid electricity meter has no effect on the energy efficiency of your home appliances and your consumption stays the same if no habits are changed. However, a prepaid electricity plan has two features that tend help customers save energy and money:
- You pay for power upfront, and not at the end of the month. Using prepaid electricity is spending the money you already have, while using a normal electricity plan is like accumulating debt on a credit card.
- We send daily reminders of how much has been deducted from your account and the corresponding electricity consumption. If consumers notice that consumption is higher than normal on a given day, they will act immediately instead of waiting for a expensive light bill.
Smart, Prepaid Electricity in Texas
Same Day Power with Advanced Metering
To activate your prepaid electricity meter, create a new customer account online or by calling 877-509-8946. Pay $75 cash or credit for your first week of electricity. Then, monitor your energy usage and top-up your account as needed. Keep your account balance above one cent to avoid disconnections.