Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Alphonse L. Meyer

Abstract

Prepay or pay-as-you-go programs are an increasingly popular type of rate plan offered by electric utilities. Under these plans, ratepayers must keep a positive balance at all times to avoid being automatically disconnected, they are charged daily for their usage, and they are provided with a means to monitor their consumption. One of the suggested benefits of these plans is that they allow electricity consumers to better manage their usage. Using household level monthly usage data from customers enrolled in prepay programs at two Kentucky rural electric cooperatives, we investigate whether there is a change in consumption after these customers enrolled in the program. To address this question, we employ a fixed-effects model. The results of our model indicate that prepay customers reduce their consumption by an average of 11% after enrolling in the program. We also find that this response is larger during periods of high or low temperatures than during mild weather. Furthermore, we find evidence that the prepayment effect diminishes over the length of time that a customer is enrolled in the program.

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