Westar Energy’s voluntary prepayment pilot remains under consideration by KCC
Program would allow customers another option for paying for their electricity
TOPEKA, Kan., March 26, 2014 — Westar Energy’s proposed “Pay As You Go” program continues to be reviewed by the Kansas Corporation Commission. Westar today submitted comments to the commission in support of the voluntary prepayment pilot program, which would allow up to 1,000 customers to prepay for their electricity.
“Our customers frequently let us know that they would like more options in how they do business with us,” said Jeff Martin, vice president, regulatory affairs. “We are aware that prepayment for any service has become more popular in recent years, especially with younger consumers. We think our customers should have that choice. This pilot program will help us gauge their interest and the value of such a program.”
Regarding prepay programs, Distributed Energy Financial Group, a nationally recognized firm with a Prepay Energy Working Group, said: “Existing prepay customers provide positive feedback, primarily the convenience, flexibility and control that goes with paying any amount at any time. Consumers find that prepayment allows them to budget in a manner most compatible with their lifestyle and income (e.g., make payments weekly or every other week) … Prepaid electricity plans designed for the budget-conscious consumer can help people get control over their electricity bills. Prepaid service allows customers to choose when they pay, how they pay, and what they pay.”
Westar’s proposed program would be open to up to 1,000 residential customers who ask to participate. Participating customers will have several options for tracking electricity use and frequent communication regarding their account status, including a special website or a mobile application that will provide usage information. They may also sign up for text messages, email or phone calls that will be sent when their balance reaches a predetermined level.
Prepayment enables Westar to extend some benefits to customers who participate in the program. Customers who would normally be required to pay a deposit can instead choose to prepay for their service. Customers with a past-due balance may opt for prepayment in place of a traditional pay agreement. A portion of what the customer pays would go toward debt and the rest would prepay for electricity they expect to use. Customers who sign up for the program would pay a $4 monthly program fee, which covers most of the cost of providing the program.
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Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is Kansas’ largest electric utility. For more than a century, we have provided Kansans the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes. Every day our team of professionals takes on projects to generate and deliver electricity, protect the environment and provide excellent service to our nearly 700,000 customers. Westar has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by coal, uranium, natural gas, wind and landfill gas. We are also a leader in electric transmission in Kansas. Our innovative customer service programs include mobile-enabled customer care, a smart meter pilot project and paving the way for electric vehicle adoption. Our employees live, volunteer and work in the communities we serve.
For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at WestarEnergy.com. Westar Energy is on Facebook: Facebook.com/YourWestar and Twitter:Twitter.com/WestarEnergy.
Director, corporate communications
Media line: 888.613.0003