The Pros and Cons of Prepay Electricity

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Pay-as-you-go or prepay electricity suppliers claim they can save you money by offering you complete control over your bills. Sounds straightforward enough, but are these claims true? In this guide, we look at the pros and cons of prepay electricity in Texas.

What is Prepay or Pay-as-you-go Electricity?

Prepay electricity is a method of paying for electricity on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is topped up similarly to how you would top up a prepay phone or toll tag. Instead of receiving a monthly or bi-monthly electricity bill, you pay for the electricity you use as it’s consumed. In Texas, you don’t have to worry about having a prepay electricity meter installed in your home. It uses the existing smart meter.  

How Does Prepay Electricity Work?

Once you decide to go with prepay electricity, your supplier will charge an upfront fee to deposit into your account and get you started. You can typically have your power turned on within an hour of when you initiate the process. 

Upon signup, your supplier will provide you with an account number and send daily text messages or emails moving forward. You are then responsible for topping up your meter yourself when you see it getting low.

You can buy credit online through your supplier’s website, over the phone, or at a designated payment station. You’ll need your account number to do this, so keep it safe!

Once you’ve bought your credit, it will be automatically added to your prepay electricity account.

If the price of electricity changes, you will be notified and the system will automatically update your account with the new rates.

 As you use electricity, your credit will decrease, and once you’re down to your last few dollars, you’ll receive a warning to top up again.

You may be able to opt for some ‘emergency’ credit to keep you going until you have a chance to top up properly, so you don’t have to worry about your electricity being unexpectedly cut off. The emergency credit will be deducted from your next top-up.

However, if you don’t top up and you’ve declined ‘emergency credit’, your electricity will stop working once your credit runs out. If this happens, all you have to do is add more credit to get up and running again.

Who Supplies Prepay Electricity in Texas

There are several suppliers of prepay electricity in Texas, including Pronto Power, Payless Power, Direct Energy, Acacia Energy among others.

What Are The Advantages of Prepay Electricity?

1. It can help you budget more effectively

With pay-as-you-go electricity, you’ll be able to monitor exactly what you’re spending in real-time through your supplier’s website, or a daily reminder via text message or email notification.

This brings peace of mind, eliminates the fear of getting a surprise bill (which can be a regular occurrence during the summer months), and helps you better see which appliances use the most electricity. And in case you forget to turn off something when you’re away, you’ll know that because your usage will be higher than what you would expect.

2. It can help you use less energy

Prepay electricity is not only great for helping you identify appliances and gadgets that are electricity guzzlers. It’s also great for the environment as it encourages you to be vigilant and only use what you need, thus reducing electricity consumption. There’s nothing like the threat of the power being shut off to remind you to turn off the lights and TV when you leave the room!

3. No more bills

Your supplier would usually usually send you a monthly statement, detailing what you’ve spent and when. But with prepay electricity, you won’t receive any paper bills. Everything is digital and all the power will be in the palm of your hands.

4. Control

If you decide to enroll for pay-as-you-go electricity, your supplier will basically get out of the way and give you control over your own electricity consumption and spending. You’ll pay for your electricity as you use it, and it’ll be up to you to choose how and when you top up.

What Are The Disadvantages of Prepay Electricity?

1. It can be more expensive

The main downside of prepay electricity is the potential extra expense.

The standard kWh price can be more expensive, especially when compared to some of the discounted introductory rates available when you pay by direct debit.

Additionally, you’ll be hit with a daily charge for the prepay meter on top of the daily energy charge that all customers must pay.

All in all, this can make prepay electricity a more expensive option.

2. Potential inconvenience

There’s also the added inconvenience of having to top up regularly to avoid your power being shut off unexpectedly. This is particularly true if you run out of credit at the weekend or late at night.

However, most suppliers will send you an alert if your balance is running low, and many offer emergency credit to help avoid unexpected cut-offs. Some suppliers also offer auto top-ups.

Regardless, an extra bit of effort is needed with prepay electricity to ensure you’re always connected, which may not suit some people.

How Much Does Prepay Electricity Cost?

If you take advantage of the increased control over your usage, you could end up paying slightly less for your electricity. If you don’t, you’ll probably pay a bit more.

Depending on your supplier, you may also pay a higher standard unit rate for your electricity.

However, with the increased visibility you get over your consumption and which appliances are costing the most to run, you should be in a position to reduce the amount you’re using and make some savings that way. And by using less electricity, you’re also doing your bit for the environment.

And of course, you’ll never have to worry about ‘bill shock.’

View prices based on avg monthly usage

Plan NameTermPricePricePrice
Pronto Saver by Pronto Power1 months0.178¢ / kWh0.167¢ / kWh0.161¢ / kWh
Pronto Saver by Pronto Power1 months0.192¢ / kWh0.181¢ / kWh0.175¢ / kWh
Pronto Saver by Pronto Power1 months0.192¢ / kWh0.181¢ / kWh0.175¢ / kWh
Pronto Saver by Pronto Power1 months0.192¢ / kWh0.181¢ / kWh0.175¢ / kWh
Pronto Saver by Pronto Power1 months0.207¢ / kWh0.196¢ / kWh0.19¢ / kWh

To see all 5 plans and prices offered by Honest Gorilla

The pricing displayed above, for Pronto PowerRetail Electric Provider, was updated on July 22, 2024 at 00:20 am CST . Prices may have changed. Please enter your ZIP Code for the latest pricing in your area.

Compare the Market

If you’re wondering whether or not prepay electricity is right for you, visit our energy price comparison service to see how all of your options stack up.

Our comparison tool lets you compare a range of electricity plans across a large variety of energy providers in Texas, and makes it easy to switch suppliers in just a few minutes.

More Information About Shopping for Electricity

For more information before making the switch, consider taking a look at some of our other helpful electricity shopping guides:

You can stay up to date on all the latest energy news and top saving tips with our blogs and guides.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or queries about prepay electricity or switching energy suppliers, we’d be happy to help. You can contact us or get in touch with us on our social media channels.

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