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Can Prepaid Electricity Be Disconnected

By powerwizard

Texans, what you don’t know about your electricity plan could cost you! 

When shopping for electricity, are you overwhelmed by all the options? 

Did you end up settling for a plan you hope was the best deal? 

You could be paying a lot more than your neighbors right across the street! 

Worry no longer; Power Wizard is here to provide you with a better way to shop. We use a unique algorithm that scans all of the available plans to find you the best possible option. 

With our service, shopping for electricity is a breeze!

Let us find you the best plan in seconds and start saving.


Now, are you wondering if prepaid electricity can be disconnected?

Perhaps you want to know…

  • Under what circumstances can prepaid electricity be shut off?
  • Are there any laws regarding the shutting off of a prepaid plan?
  • How can someone avoid having their prepaid electricity cut off?
  • What can someone do if their prepaid plan has been disconnected?

If you’re looking for the answer to any of these above questions, you’re in the right place.

In this guide, we’ll not only answer these questions, but we’ll also share everything you need to know regarding prepaid electricity plans.

Can They Cut My Electric Off If I Have A Prepaid Plan?

Prepaid electricity, also sometimes called month-to-month electricity, is an electric plan in which customers pay for electricity before using it,

These types of plans can be a great plan for certain individuals.

Prepaid plans are often beneficial for those who:

  • Prefer to not pay a deposit
  • Prefer to not have a credit check run
  • Like making smaller payments throughout the month
  • Are looking for ways to monitor and reduce their electricity usage.

Of course, with all the advantages of a prepaid plan, there will be some disadvantages.

Two of the biggest disadvantages of a prepaid plan are:

  1. You must maintain an account balance at or above the disconnection balance in order to maintain service.
  2. Your services are disconnected when your account balance runs out of credit.

What Happens If My Account Balance Runs Low?

When you use a prepaid electricity plan, you won’t receive a monthly bill.

Rather than send monthly bills, your REP sends you an email with your account balance and recent electricity usage.

Most REPs give customers the option of receiving these communications via one or more of the following means:

  • Email
  • Text message
  • App notification – requires the customer to download the REPs app

When your account begins to get low on funds, your REP will notify you electronically via the method of your choosing.

Many REPs will even allow you to receive a balance notice when your account reaches a predetermined balance of your choosing.

This low-balance notification gives you time to add more funds to your account to avoid dropping below the disconnection balance.

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What Happens If My Account Balance Falls Below the Disconnection Balance?

Texas law allows REPs to establish their own disconnection balance requirement, as long as the amount does not exceed $10.

It is extremely important that if you have a prepaid electricity plan, you are fully aware of your REPs disconnection balance to take proactive measures to prevent your account balance from ever dropping down below the required amount.

Your REP has the right to immediately disconnect your services if your account balance drops below the disconnection balance. Though, they must follow state laws.

If your service is disconnected and you have negative balance, you will have to pay off that negative balance. Then establish your REP’s required new connection balance to have your services reconnected.

Texas Laws Around Shutting Off Electricity For Prepaid Plans

The state of Texas has extensive laws in place to protect consumers of retail electric services. Texas also has some different laws and regulations regarding prepaid services in particular.

Law #1: Prohibition on Disconnection

An REP may not initiate disconnection of service for a customer’s inability to maintain a balance above the disconnection balance requirement during the following times:

  • During the weekend
  • During any time in which the payment mechanisms are unavailable to the customer
  • During an extreme weather emergency, as defined by the National Weather Service

Law #2: Initiation of Disconnection

An REP may initiate disconnection of service for a customer’s inability to maintain a balance above the disconnection balance requirement under the following circumstances:

  • A timely warning has been provided to the customer at least one day and not more than 7 days in advance of the customer’s balance dropping to the disconnection balance as estimated by the REP
  • The customer has failed to comply with the terms of the deferred payment plan, and a timely warning has been provided to the customer
  • The account balance falls below the disconnection balance due to a payment reversal as a result of insufficient funds indicated by a bank, credit card company, or any other payor
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Law #3: Pledge from Electric Assistance Agencies

Should an REP receive a pledge, letter of intent, purchase order, or another form of commitment from an energy assistance agency to make a payment on behalf of a customer, the REP shall immediately credit the customer’s account balance with the pledge amount.

Should this pledge bring the customer’s account balance above the disconnection balance, the REP shall not initiate the disconnection of services.

Law #4: Reconnection of Service

An REP is required to request that the TDU (transmission and distribution utilities) or CPDS (customer prepayment device or system) reconnect service within two hours of a customer establishing a connection balance or other satisfactory correction of the disconnection reason.

4 Ways to Avoid Getting Your Electricity Shut Off If You Have a Prepaid Plan

Nobody wants to lose electricity.

Almost everything that takes place at home requires electricity.

Without electricity, you can’t do your simple, day-to-day activities such as:

  • Keep food at the proper temperature
  • Cook meals for your family
  • Turn on lights
  • Take a hot shower
  • Run your air conditioner or heater
  • Wash and dry your clothes
  • Watch TV
  • Play video games

The list of things you cannot do without electricity goes on and on…

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#1: Be Aware If Your Account Balance Is Running Low

If you have a prepaid electricity plan, one of the most important things you can do is be aware of your electricity usage and account balance daily.

If your REP offers a mobile app, downloading that app and using it to check your account balance daily is a very easy thing to do.

Another option, if your REP offers it, is to set a notification balance amount on your account. This means that your REP will notify you electronically when your account balance drops to this notification balance.

For example, if your disconnection balance is $10, you may want to set your notification balance amount at $25.

By setting this notification balance a bit higher than the required disconnection balance, you will be notified before your account balance drops too close to your disconnection balance, giving you ample time to add funds to your account before you become at risk of disconnection.

How The Electric Company Notifies You Of A Low Or Zero Balance

Retail Electric Providers are legally able to disconnect services when a customer’s account balance meets or drops below the set disconnection balance, provided they have properly notified the customer of this potential disconnection.

Every REP differs in their process of notifying customers who are approaching disconnection of their prepaid electricity due to low account balances, but luckily there are some Texas laws in place to ensure that you as a consumer are properly informed prior to disconnection.

REPs are required by Texas law to notify customers at least 1 day, but up to 7 days, prior to the estimated disconnection date.

To predict this estimated disconnection date, REPs will use the customer’s usage history and current account balance to determine when the account balance may meet or fall below the required disconnection balance.

#2 Deposit Money Into A Prepaid Electricity Account

If your prepaid account balance is getting close to the disconnection balance, you should add additional funds to your account balance as soon as possible.

Most Retail Electric Providers offer several options for adding funds to your prepaid electricity account balance.

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Add Funds to a Prepaid Electricity Account Online

Most REPs will allow prepaid electricity customers to add funds to their accounts online by using the company’s website.

Most often, you will first need to create an online account if you’ve not already done so.

Once you’ve created this online account, you can quickly and easily add funds to most prepaid electricity accounts by using your credit card, debit card, and in some cases, even your checking account.

The amount you choose to add and the frequency at which you do so is completely up to you, as long as your account balance always stays above your plan’s disconnection balance.

Add Funds to a Prepaid Electricity Account Via Mobile App

If your REP offers a mobile app, you can apply funds to your account via this app.

Similar to adding funds online, to add funds using the app, you will need to first create a user account.

With this account, you can quickly and easily monitor your account balance, and add funds when needed.

Add Funds to a Prepaid Electricity Account Over the Phone

Most REPs have a pay by phone option, which allows customers to make credit card payments to their prepaid plans over the phone simply by calling their customer service number.

Some REPs even utilize an automated phone system in which customers can add funds to their account balance at any time, 24 hours a day.

Add Funds to a Prepaid Electricity Account In Person

Some REPs offer pay-in-person options where prepaid customers can add funds to their account balances with a check, money order, or credit card.

Some of the pay-in-person options that your REP may offer include:

  • REP branch locations
  • Automated payment kiosks located at select locations
  • Other payment venues, such as convenience or grocery stores.

#3 Set Up Automatic Payments When Minimum Balance Is Reached

Another payment option offered by many REPs is the ability for customers to set up automatic recurring payments.

With an automatic payment option, customers can set a predetermined amount to automatically be debited from their credit card and applied to their account balance once their balance drops to a designated amount.

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#4: Request a Deferred Payment Plan

There are a few special circumstances under which a prepaid electricity customer can request a deferred payment plan from their REP.

Deferred payment plan requirements:

  • Your account reaches a negative balance of $50 or more during an extreme weather event, as categorized by the National Weather Service.
  • The Governor declared a state of disaster, and the Public Utilities Commission ordered that deferred payment plans are an option.
  • Your Retail Electric Provider has underbilled your account by $50 or more for reasons other than theft of service.

While under a deferred payment plan, your REP does have the option to place a switch-hold on your account until your balance is paid in full. A switch-hold will prevent you from buying electricity from another company until your balance due has been satisfied.

You can request a deferred payment plan in person, by phone, or online.

However, all deferred payment plans must be confirmed in writing by the REP to the customer.

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3 Options To Restart Service If Electricity Is Disconnected

Your prepaid electricity plan may get disconnected if your account drops too low. If that happens, you have a few options to get your electricity back on.

Your options include:

  1. Restarting your prepaid electricity service
  2. Manually shopping for a new electricity plan
  3. Using an automated system to match you with the best new plan for your needs
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Option #1 Reconnect Prepaid Electricity Account

Your first option for restarting electricity services to your home is to reconnect your disconnected prepaid electricity plan.

To reconnect services, you must first pay any negative balance on your account.

Once the negative balance has been satisfied, your Retail Electric Provider will, in most cases, require that you make a payment to establish a new connection balance. This will most likely be the same payment amount required when you initially began the prepaid plan with this REP. Paying this new connection balance will allow your services to be reconnected.

If you make this payment via a third-party payment processor, your REP may require payment confirmation before moving forward with the reconnection of your services.

After they receive payment, they should reconnect your service within 2 hours.

Option #2 Manually Shop For A New Electricity Plan

Perhaps you decide that a prepaid plan is not working for you. You can choose another REP or plan for your new service.

You could go about selecting this new plan by manually shopping around, just like Simon attempted to do.

Simon lives in Alamo, Texas, with his wife Diane and their 3 children.

They opted to go with a prepaid electricity plan to better control their spending and electrical usage when they first moved into their 2,300 sq ft house 8 years ago.

However, as the years went on, their situation changed. Their family grew from 1 child to 3 children, ages 14, 6, and 3, and Diane also transitioned to a work-from-home position.

Given these changes over the years, their household electricity usage has more than tripled, and they simply cannot keep up with the ever-declining account balance on their prepaid electricity plan.

Simon has had enough with a prepaid plan and decides it’s time to transition to a different type of plan.

And so, the manual process begins.

Or at least Simon’s research process begins.

After a quick Google search on his phone, Simon is in disbelief.

Who knew that there were more than 160 REPs in Texas, with potentially dozens in the Alamo area alone to choose from.

Overwhelmed and mind-blown, Simon begins to think through everything he must do to find the best plan for his family.

First, Simon realizes that he will have to research to find out which REPs service his area.

Then, he’ll have to visit every REP website to find out the types of plans they offer.

Realizing that just this beginning part of the process is likely to take him a week or more, Simon’s anxiety goes through the roof.

And this isn’t even taking into account the remaining steps for manually selecting a plan.

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Simon will also need to:

  • Create a spreadsheet for comparing the details of the dozens of plans.
  • Consider each plan against all of his family’s personal factors, such as:
    • Location
    • Age of the home
    • Size of the home
    • Average electrical usage

Simon might take a whole week or more before he finds a plan that might be a fit for him home. 

But here’s the problem.

Simon doesn’t have a week.

Simon doesn’t even have a day.

His family needs electricity now. Ideally, 2 hours ago.

Option #3 Automate The New Electricity Plan Process

Luckily, while Simon has been stressing out over how long manually selecting a new REP will take, his wife Diane has found a better way.

Power Wizard’s Shopping Tool.

Diane spends less than 5 minutes entering some basic information about their family and home, such as:

  • Location
  • Age of the home
  • Size of the home
  • Average electrical usage

As she watches Simon wring his hands and sweat pouring from his brow, Diane tries not to smile as she sits back. She allows Power Wizard’s automated and bias-free algorithm to quickly and easily match her family with the very best plan for their family.

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety-like Simon.

Take the easy route like Diane and let Power Wizard do all of the work for you.

You’ll thank yourself when you have electricity service running to your home in a matter of hours rather than weeks.

Let us find you the best plan in seconds and start saving.

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