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Consider a Prepay Account

Consider a Prepay Account
By:  Judy Barten, CFO

DS&O receives questions about its prepay electric rate from time to time.  To best explain what prepay is and how it works, it is helpful to look at similar services we use in our everyday lives.  Many of you have propane tanks at your homes.  You pay a certain price to have a truck come by periodically to fill up your propane tank, either on a certain schedule or as needed.  Similarly, when you go to the gas station to get gas for your vehicle, you pay to put gas into your gas tank.  DS&O’s prepay electric rate works just the same; you pay to add electricity to your “tank,” but in this case, there isn’t a physical tank.  With prepay you pay prior to your usage, while with a traditional electric rate you pay after your usage.

DS&O began offering a prepay rate to residential members in 2011 and currently has hundreds of such accounts.  These members selected the prepay option for a variety of reasons, but one major benefit can be lower electric bills.  A few studies across the US have shown electric bills are up to 14% lower for those on a prepay rate versus a standard electric rate, mainly because people pay closer attention to their electricity usage patterns.

Prepay rate plans are popular because of their flexibility.  You can pay any amount at any time, as long as you maintain a credit balance on your account.  With a prepay account, if you get low on electricity, then you will receive a text or email letting you know.  If you run out of money in your prepay account, then your power will go off automatically.  To turn it back on, you simply go online or stop by our office and pay for more electricity.

A major plus for enrolling in our prepay rate is there are no credit checks or deposits for new members.  In some cases, this can save you from having to come up with hundreds of dollars as a deposit to get the account turned on.

Another advantage of our prepay plan is, unlike our traditional electric rate plans, you are not subject to late payment or reconnect fees.

For more specifics and to see how prepay stacks up versus our traditional residential electric rates, consider the table below.


Prepay Rate

Traditional Rates



Varies (can be up to $600)

Reconnect Fee




No monthly bill; pay as needed

Monthly bill due

Late Fee


10% of outstanding balance

Availability Charge


$37.50/month for Rural
$25.00/month for Urban

Energy Rate (annual average)


$.1180/kWh for Rural
$.1342/kWh for Urban

If you decide you want more payment flexibility and the potential to save more on your electric bill, then prepay may be just the answer.  Let us know if you want to make the switch to prepay or have any questions about the program.

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