NIE Energy of Northern Ireland has over 200,000 customers who use prepayment meters, and the company has recently introduced a way for them to pay for the electricity online. Up until now customers would visit vending stations to buy more electricity credit, or alternatively purchase credits over the telephone using NIE Energy’s 24/7 automated service. Now those who have access to the web are able to visit the company’s site and make their purchases online.
Customers with keypad meters receive a 2.5 percent discount off the standard cost of power. The meter package includes an in-home display unit. NIE Energy also plans to trial smart meters, and has called for volunteers. The trial will last for a year, and will allow customers to view their power usage in almost real time, as well as finding out the cost of consumption. The utility hopes that the smart meters will encourage customers to be more energy efficient.