By Judy Finman, At Home

Well known in Northern Colorado for more than 75 years, Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, Inc. , is a local, not-for-profit electric cooperative serving over 40,000 homes and businesses in Larimer, Boulder and Weld counties. A Touchstone Energy Cooperative, Poudre Valley REA is owned by the members it serves.

Poudre Valley REA is committed to providing great member service along with reliable power, and one of the ways they do this is by providing programs and services to members.

The Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association’s Pay As You Go program lets customers see their electricity usage as it happens via an app on their smartphone giving them a way to better control their expenses. (Tim Seibert/At Home)

A member-focused program
“One of the best services for our members is our Pay As You Go program. It offers members an easy, convenient way of paying their bill,” says Amy Blunck, Communications Director, Poudre Valley REA. “With a Pay As You Go account, members pay for electricity as it is consumed. They can even pay from their cellphone while sitting at home in their living room. It’s that convenient. Read about it on our website – www.pvrea.com/prepay.”

Pay As You Go
Poudre Valley REA members can take control of their energy account through the power of prepay. Instead of paying for their electricity after they use it, they pay for their electricity as they use it throughout the month. When their account runs low on funds, they simply put more money into their account. So they control how much money they spend on electricity.

As a helpful video on Poudre Valley REA’s website points out: It’s like filling up a car’s fuel tank. You decide how much fuel to use, at what point you need to buy more, and how much you want to spend each time.

The benefits are that no deposit is required, there are no disconnect or reconnect fees, budgeting is easier, and you get timely information about your electrical usage.

How it works
With a Pay As You Go account, the account is managed via SmartHub, a free online tool and smartphone app provided by Poudre Valley REA. You log into your account using SmartHub, and see your electricity use along with how much you have spent on electricity during the month. The online access allows members to see exactly how much electricity is being used, so it can be better managed.

“Providing a different payment option gives members the opportunity to find a payment choice to fit their lifestyle,” Communications Director Blunck explains.

“There are no deposits or disconnect fees. When a new member signs up for service, they may have a deposit fee. But with the Pay As You Go option, there is no deposit fee. Members can simply pay the minimum $100 to get their account going.

The Pay As You Go program allows customers to make conscious decisions about the energy such as setting the thermostat or turning out the lights when they leave a room. (Tim Seibert/At Home)

“It’s a great option for those who are on a tight budget, and/or don’t like getting a surprise bill at the end of the month. With Pay As You Go, you can go in every day and see how much electricity you’ve consumed and the cost. For some members, it’s easier to pay $25 here or there instead of a one-chunk payment of, for example, $150, at the end of the month.

“Pay As You Go also makes a member more cognizant of their energy use. When they see how much it’s costing them every day to run their AC at 72 degrees all day, or they’re not shutting their lights off when they leave the room, the consumer starts to become more energy efficient. Studies have shown that consumers who have a prepaid utility service tend to use 15-20 percent less electricity.”

For any questions or to sign up for Pay As You Go, contact the Cooperative at 1-800-432-1012, or visit their website at www.pvrea.com/prepay

For more information about Poudre Valley REA
Contact Poudre Valley REA at 1-800 432-1012, or visit their website at www.pvrea.com. Their mailing address is PO Box 272550, Fort Collins, CO 80527-2550. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.