By JoAnn Merrigan – WSAV
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you are looking for a new payment option for your electricity bill, Georgia Power has a new program called Pay by Day.
You pay a flat fee per day and it’s prepaid.
Customers set up an account with the company and then put money into that account online, through an app or by visiting a retail location (like Walmart) that takes payments.
John Kraft with Georgia Power says the Pay by Day program offers the fixed charge “no matter the amount of energy used, no matter the heat of summer or the cold of winter.”
Kraft says customers don’t get the surprise of a bill at the end of the month that’s higher than they anticipated and because this is paid every day, there is no deposit required for customers.
While this option is said to be something that can help all customers who want flexibility, the issue of not having to pay a deposit of up to $200 is seen as important for low income who may be trying to keep up with electric bills and avoid a shutoff.
“Yes, I think there could be benefits for low income customers as well as others,” said Kraft.
Liz Coyle from Georgia Watch, a statewide consumer group, took a different view of Pay by Day.
“There’s no incentive for people to actually take steps to lower their bills,” she said.
Coyle says Pay by Day means a customer pays the same amount (per day) no matter what they use. She says the company has an existing prepay program that charges specifically for daily usage, so if you use less electricity that day you pay less.
She also says the prepay program provides text messages and other types of communications to customers telling them their account may be running low and advising them how they can use less energy that day such as turning their thermostat down. She says Pay by Day again will charge the flat rate no matter what the usage is.
“I want to make sure that every customer understands that when they choose whether it’s the standard flat bill plan program that Georgia Power offers or this new kind of flat bill (per day) that they’re giving up the ability to control their energy use to lower their power bill,” said Coyle.
Georgia Power says customers can choose Pay by Day if it makes sense for them. Kraft also says there is a list of other payment option programs available.
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