Wake Forest, NC— More than 400 Wake Electric members have switched to the “PowerUp with Prepay” program (PowerUp), a new and convenient pay-as-you-go billing option for residential members.
PowerUp allows Wake Electric members to pay for only the amount of electricity they want, when they want to pay for it. Members can prepay anticipated charges a full month in advance, or pay just enough to get them through the next week. The program is designed to optimize payment flexibility and allow more control over personal finances.
“PowerUp with PrePay gives members the opportunity to be fully in control of their account,” said Scott Poole, manager of customer service for Wake Electric. “The technology we have in the field allows us to read a meter each and every day and calculate how many kilowatt hours a member has used. Based on those readings, we can then determine how much money is remaining in their account. It’s a pretty exciting technology.”
PowerUp allows members to put dollars in their account, and as they use electricity, the balance in their account will decrease. Members provide the co-op with an email and/or valid phone number, so the PowerUp program will automatically notify them when their account gets low on funds.
“Wake Electric will call my cell phone with an account update when it gets low, and also my co-op will notify me through emails to tell me my balance is low,” said Bessie Perry, Wake Electric member from Youngsville, NC and PowerUp with PrePay user. “I can immediately go online and add funds to my account, or I can call Wake Electric and add money to my account. It’s very convenient.”
Members can simply reload their account and see how far they can stretch their dollars before making their next payment. By pre-purchasing electricity, members can budget and monitor their electricity usage more closely.
“Honestly, I did not think about the energy when I was getting my electric bill just once a month,” said Perry. “With the PowerUp program, I am now able to see my bill before the end of the month and plan my finances accordingly. I love this. I simply love this.”
PowerUp also allows members to apply any existing deposit from their traditional post-pay account towards outstanding balances at conversion. Any remaining credit is then applied to the PowerUp account for the purchase of future electricity.
“Not having to pay a deposit has been quite popular with the membership,” said Poole. “Our members have also been pleased that they can determine whether a prepaid or post-pay bill payment plan is best for them.”
Other benefits of PowerUp include no late fees, trip charges, or reconnect fees. Also, there is no cost to switch to the PowerUp rate. Members will have easy access to electric usage, payment history and credit balances online, which allows more control over personal finances and planning.
“This program has really tremendously changed not just my electric bill, but also my life,” said Perry. “I know I don’t have to worry about the lights being turned off or that I’m not going to be able to pay my bill. I’m in control of what I pay every week, even every day.”
The PowerUp with PrePay program was made possible through the meter exchange Wake Electric wrapped up in March. The co-op started changing its existing meters to automated metering infrastructure meters (AMI) in October 2011. By early March, Wake Electric had successfully exchanged all 35,000 residential and non-demand meters on the electric system. AMI meters store electric use, outage and voltage information, as well as communicate it back to the co-op office through a secure, wireless communication network. The new AMI meters are what give members access to daily energy usage reports online through the Monitor & Manage program, allowing them to better evaluate and manage their energy consumption.
“When I go online to view my bill and my electric usage, I am able to see what my PowerUp balance is,” said Perry. “The online graphs show me so much detail, down to what the temperatures were for the last several months and how that might have affected my electric bill. I can even tell when my husband and son get home from work, because my graphs show an increase of electric usage at certain times of the day. This is what I find really helpful. I can look at the graphs and say, ‘What’s going on guys? We need to nip this in the bud.’
Viewing our monthly, daily and even hourly interval data helps us to control the electric use in our house.”
Surveys have shown that 90 percent of those enrolled in similar prepay programs believe they use energy more wisely as a result. In addition, statistics indicate that pay-as-you-go programs, such as PowerUp, help lower electric usage resulting in real savings, sometimes by more than 10 percent, as consumers become more aware of their electric consumption.
For more information on our PowerUp program, please call (919)863-6300 or 1-800-474-6300 or visit www.wemc.com/powerup/.
A video on the PowerUp program, featuring Wake Electric member Bessie Perry, who is quoted in this article, is available for viewing at www.wemc.com/powerUpVideo.aspx.