Nowadays, in some countries, electricity users have the option of either being put on the prepaid or the postpaid electricity-supply regimes.
The terms are quite self explanatory. When we talk about prepaid electricity, what we will be looking at is the regime where electricity users pay in advance for their electricity usage. On the other hand, when we talk about postpaid electricity, what we will be talking about is the regime where electricity users pay for their electricity after having used it.
The way prepaid electricity-supply works is that the users buy special number-bearing cards, which they then proceed to load onto their smart electricity meters, thereby procuring a number of kilowatt-hours congruent to the value of the cards. electrician johannesburg They then use the electricity so purchased, and update their accounts (by purchasing another card) when they feel that their balance is running low and they are at risk of being cut off from the grid.
There are, however, some jurisdictions where these smart cards are not used. What happens in such jurisdictions is that a person simply goes to electricity supply company’s offices, make a payment there, which is then loaded onto his or her account; thence procuring him or her a given number of electricity units. The impetus then falls on him or her to keep checking the falling balance on his or her electricity meter, and then make an effort to load more money into the account before the earlier amount runs out.
The way postpaid electricity works, on the other hand, is that a meter for electricity usage is installed in the user’s premises, with a usage bill accumulating as the user makes use of the electricity. The bill is then send periodically (say monthly), and the user required to pay for it, in order to continue being supplied with electricity.
Both the prepaid and postpaid electricity supply systems come with an upside and a downside to them.
The upside to the prepaid electricity-supply system arises from the expenditure control it makes possible, as well as its convenience, and the fact that using it, one is immune from late bill repayment penalties. There is also the fact that, typically, no deposits are required in postpaid electricity supply systems.
The downside to the prepaid electricity-supply system arises from the fact that it exposes its users to major inconveniences, in case of them forgetting to buy electricity supply units in good time. Some people also feel that going looking for electricity supply scratch cards is too inconvenient a job – though, thankfully, most electricity supply companies have nowadays created systems where the units can be purchased online or through the phone.
The upside to the postpaid electricity-supply system, on the other hand, arises from the fact that through it, one is guaranteed of electricity-supply for a month (or whatever period), whether or not they have money or not. There is no risk of your electricity being interrupted mid-month, on account of your having run out of money with which you can purchase electricity-supply units.
Many people also find it more convenient to have their meters read, their bills calculated from thence and presented to them, pursuant to which they can pay them in one go. They find the idea of going looking for electricity supply cards, which is essential in prepaid electricity supply systems, too inconvenient to be loved.
The downside to the postpaid electricity-supply system arises out of the fact that that it often requires hefty deposits (which the electricity supply companies tend to be rather slow in refunding at the end of the relationship). Often, too, the people who get on postpaid electricity supply systems end up having to pay penalties for late repayment of bills.
Unlike the situation in the prepaid electricity-supply system, in the postpaid system, there is no direct motivation for timely payments for electricity usage, and this is what often leads many people into the situations where they have to suffer the penalties.
It is also worth taking note that the solution to a situation where a user is unable to pay for their electricity (in the postpaid system) is that of being physically disconnected from the grid. Once this has happened, being reconnected, even after bill payment, can be extremely difficult.
With the prepaid system, what happens when you don’t recharge your system with money is that electricity stops being supplied to you, but without physical disconnection. Getting back to the grid then simply becomes a matter of loading more money into the system, and instantly getting your power supply back.