In the UK, Ovo Energy, an electricity and gas supply company, launched Britain's first full-service pay-as-you-go-energy platform, a single platform energy management tool for consumers.
Through the Smart PAYG+ platform, users can monitor their energy comsumption as well as perform standard electrcity top-up services for pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) customers.
Pre-paid customers can buy electricity through mobile application, text, online and via mobile phone, reducing the need for top up keys or cards to buy electricity. The platform also features 24 hour updates with optional alerts and auto top-ups.
Justin Cockeril, managing director of OVO Smart PAYG says: "From being forced to make top-up trips at the most inconvenient times, to household emergencies due to energy suddenly running out, pre-payment energy customers have endured a rough rise from the industry.
"We're putting the power into the customers' hands and giving them unprecedented control and convenience over the cheapest possible energy supply."
The energy platform offers customers convenience and efficiency through accessibility, and eliminates logistical hassels when customers require electricity.
Says Mat Roberts, Ovo Energy customer: "Last year I upgraded my pre-payment meters to smart ones as I got so fed up with being forced to use yesterday's technology. Previously I had to trek to my local shop with my key or card, top it up and then come back and top up my meters manually."
The energy company currently serves around 40,000 PAYG customers.
Britons engage with idea of mobile top-up
In November last year, Metering & Smart Energy International reported on a study by Smart Energy GB, which indicated that nearly half of consumers in Great Britain would opt for a prepaid smart meter despite only 16% of the population having access to this type of metering.
The study found that 48% of Britons are interested in using smart meters with prepaid functionality to buy gas and electricity.
As a general trend, younger people and those living in the North of England showed more interest in smart prepayment meters.
Three out of five (59%) of 18-34 year olds are interested in using smart pay-as-you-go, according to the research ‘Attitudes around buying gas and electricity with smart pay-as-you-go’.
Benefits of prepaid metering
A statement issued by Smart Energy GB said that handheld devices showing how much money is left in credit are seen to be one of the biggest benefits of having a smart meter operating in prepayment mode.
Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of Smart Energy GB, said: “This research shows that there is a national appetite for a far more convenient way to pay for energy.
“It is clear that people want greater control and visibility over how they buy and use energy – and smart pay-as-you-go, made possible by the national roll-out of smart meters, is a big step towards this.”