Perth, Australia --- (METERING.COM) --- June 17, 2008 – Prepayment, or pay-as-you-go meters, are being trialed in several communities in Western Australia, and reactions to the new system are mixed.

The Western Australia Office of Energy is positive about the concept, saying that it offers an option to those families who have difficulty meeting their obligations to pay for energy use monthly. A prepayment meter also allows the cost of power to be shared among family members.

However, the state’s Council of Social Services believes the meters have been introduced to target the poorer families who are behind on their monthly payments. The Council believes that there will be less opportunity to work with customers to solve their cash flow problems when they are no longer receiving monthly bills. In addition it holds that electricity is an essential service, and is concerned that families will be disadvantaged because the meters stop supplying power when the credit has been used up.

Local government is investigating the results of the trials and talking to customers who had prepayment meters installed to establish whether the system should be introduced more widely.