April 30, 2014
This document is a review of prepayment programs under development at three distribution cooperatives as a part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association-U.S. Department of Energy (NRECA-DOE) Smart Grid Demonstration Project (SGDP). The intent of the document is to provide an overall status for each program, as well as compare and contrast the results of each. The three cooperatives are Energy United (EU), Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), and Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA).
In June 2012, NRECA published a Prepaid Metering Analytical Report. The intent of the June2012 report was to give utilities necessary information about defining and running a prepayment program. Considering further the opportunities for cooperatives in prepay programs associated with Smart Grid development, NRECA commissioned an update to the 2012 study, entitled Electricity Prepayment Program Update for the Cooperative Market, to focus more specifically on the growth and status of prepayment. Among other things, the findings of this update are that (1) the presence of an AMI solution is a core enabler of prepayment; (2) many if not most of the customer information systems (CIS) now support the offering of prepayment as a payment method; and (3) prepayment in general is growing at a significant pace, perhaps as much as 55% over the past 2 years, and possibly even higher. In concert with the intent of the SGDP research, the Program Update is provided in an appendix to this report as supplemental information to assist cooperatives that are investigating prepayment programs.