Monday, June 11, 2007

Deadbeats and Electricity payments

What is the fuss about people deadbeating. The soultion is simple and yet again, looks to the past.

Electricity meters that require money up front.

About 15 years agao in Christchurch, I had the option of a $200 bond for power or have a prepay meter put in.

You got a card and took it into the MED and got it charged up with a nominate damount of money. This was then swiped through the reader and credited to you. You could see how much credit you had on the display and when the unit estimated that you were down to three days power at the current rate of use- it started beeping.

If you had bad credit, one of these was compulsary.

A carrot was that as you prepaid, you got a 10% discount on your power!

When I moved to Wellington, there was no carrot nor was there a large bond- so I did not bother.

I don't know if these are still around, but they seem the ideal solution to power deadbeats.


KG said...

Would work well with telephone bills too, I reckon.

Oi said...

I recall when I was a young fellow - probably around 1953, or thereabouts - my grandmother had a coin meter for the electricity.
She would put a shilling in, and everything was all tickety boo for another week or two.
I later heard stories about these meters when I worked for the NPCC elec. dept.
Apparantly there was a magnet inside, that seized any washers put in, and stalled the operation till a serviceman was called and cleared it at the consumers expense.
Of course, the bright sparks then found that you could make a plasticine mould of a shilling, fill it with water and freeze it.
This frozen "coin" would work the mechanism fine till everything rusted up..........

Oswald Bastable said...

It was determined in a court case that tokens represented a promise to payment and that must be honoured.

This was from gas meter days!

Source 'Requiem for a Gasworks'- a history of the Christchurch gasworks.

Thats why an electronic meter is a must- the scotes would just smash them open for the coins and blame burglars!

Seamonkey Madness said...

Its how we paid for our flats gas and power in the UK. What the hell is wrong with it being implemented in NZ? Like Oswald has finely pointed out, you were given ample warning before it ran out and all you had to do was nip down to the shops and top up your card.