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Posted: June 7, 2012 8:13 p.m.

City to start prepay electricity program

The Covington city council voted Monday to move forward with the prepay metering pilot program by authorizing Mayor Ronnie Johnston to execute an agreement with Paygo, the service provider.

The prepay pilot program will allow 12 customers to prepay for electricity, which will benefit customers with little or poor credit of having to pay deposits of up to $600.

The city has also placed an order of $4,500 for the meters and other required software and equipment. If the pilot program is unsuccessful, the meters will still be used.

Once the pilot program begins, it should last for a year, said Utilities Director Bill Meecham.

The idea for the prepay meeting system came about shortly after Mayor Ronnie Johnston took office, Meecham said.
"He asked staff to find options that might help residents who either had credit difficulties or other financial problems to handle utility deposits which can, in some cases, be as much as $600," Meecham said. "He noted that during his campaign for office that residents had asked for help in handling the deposits."

However, Meecham said those with little or poor credit would not be the only group to benefit from such a program.

"There may be benefits to other customers who choose this program such as seasonal residents or those who use it to help budget their usage," Meecham

cham said. "There has been evidence from other places that have such a program that there are customers who do this and they typically use less energy than they did before the program."

As Mayor Johnston works with the service provider, policies for the program will be determined. There are no plans to replace traditional, bill-by-the-month service. The program is also for electricity customers only.

There is no set start date, but Meecham said the program cound begin in late summer.

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