ACEEE Blog, Feb. 28, 2017, by Ariel Drehobl.
http://aceee.org/blog/2017/02/should-utility-prepay-plans-be

"Utility proposals for customer prepayment plans are on the rise. These payment plans require customers to pay in advance for their utility services and, if they run out of prepaid credit, they are remotely disconnected from service until they top up their credit. While utilities can benefit from these plans because of reduced financial risks from overdue payments and other reduced service costs, many consumer advocates are concerned about these plans’ effects on health and safety, particularly for low-income participants. Some utilities and prepay advocates claim that prepayment influences customers to save energy. If this is true, should prepay plans be considered energy efficiency programs?"