Nations Power, a certificated retail electric provider to smart-metered customers in Texas, recently announced that it is providing prepaid, real-time pricing for electricity to customers at rates 30 to 40 percent lower than other prepaid companies that bill on an estimated basis, which costs the consumer more.

Currently, Texas has more than 1 million residential smart meters installed primarily in the Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth areas but expects to have 6 million by 2013.

Using advanced technology and specialized prepaid billing software, the program is available to any household with a smart meter. It allows electricity delivery to customers who are having problems paying upfront deposits and those who don’t need contracts or credit checks. The software was developed exclusively for Nations Power by SmartGridCIS and processes usage data every 15 minutes, which permits prepayment and real-time pricing.

“We are the only prepaid electric provider to eliminate the need to pay large deposits and high reconnection charges. Our system allows customers who are disconnected for nonpayment to reconnect within two hours of paying rather than days. For the first time, customers can pay what they can, when they can. They can pay every few days or weekly to match their payroll cycles,” said Fernando de Aguero, president of Nations Power.

A customer can get started with the new service with an initial $50 payment versus a $100 to $300 deposit with other prepayment companies.

“We understand the essential need for electricity and the difficulty many Texans have with paying a large monthly bill. To alleviate this pressure, we created a system that provides lower pricing and the ability to pay in smaller amounts. We are also integrated into the state assistance program to facilitate customers getting 20 percent subsidized power during certain months of the year when they need it the most,” de Aguero said.

Customers can pay at any one of 110,000 retail payment centers throughout Texas, over the phone using a toll-free number, or online with a debit card at the company’s Web site. Customers can also view their consumption, payment and communications history at the Web portal.