Sanford, NC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- October 27, 2009 - The PORCHE Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system from software solution provider Milsoft Utility Solutions has been interfaced with Exceleron Software’s Prepaid Account Management System (PAMS) at Central Electric Membership Corporation in Sanford, NC, the company has announced.

Customers who elect – or are required – to use prepaid as a payment method can also now utilize the automated PORCHE IVR system to retrieve account balances and make payments using credit cards or e-checks.

To protect itself from financial risk, Central Electric EMC adopted a policy of asking high risk customers to pay a deposit of as much as $500. Often customers had difficulty coming up with that much cash and complained that the policy was unfair.

“People just can’t afford to pay that, especially when you think that they’re just getting established in a new home,” says Angela Hare, director of Information Systems. Central Electric’s administrators knew that prepay options presented a great solution, since it would let customers pay ahead of time, reducing the coop’s financial risk.

“Providing utility customers the option of checking account balances and making payments through automation has really become common place across the utility markets and we were already doing that at Central EMC using PORCHE IVR,” said Ed Carlson, vice president of sales for Milsoft. “To extend that same level of customer service options to the prepaid account members was equally as important.”

“PAMS has delivered other benefits, too,” said Jeff Severs, Exceleron’s COO. “Central Electric’s customers are now much more aware of their electricity usage and they contact the coop when they notice unusual changes. For example, one customer logged into Exceleron’s web portal and saw that his electricity use had spiked. He immediately called Central Electric, which was able to trace the problem to a faulty heating element. Under the old system, the problem would have gone unnoticed until the next billing cycle, when the customer would have been shocked by the higher amount due.”