Two providers of payment services for utilities are collaborating to deliver a prepaid wireless metering system for electricity providers.

SmartSynch Inc., a Jackson, Miss., provider of wireless metering technology, and Exceleron Software Inc., a Dallas prepaid services provider, announced Monday that they have combined their technologies to create a way for consumers to pay for electricity consumption in advance. The new system lets utilities monitor use over public wireless data networks and notify people when they need to send payments.

Previous prepaid services required utilities to install systems at customers' homes or to connect people to proprietary networks.

Stephen Johnston, SmartSynch's chief executive, said in a press release that using wireless networks "makes it possible for utilities to cost-effectively spot-deploy these types of high-value services to any geographically diverse customer base immediately."

The companies said prepaid systems can reduce consumption. Oklahoma Electric Cooperative Inc. in Norman, which has been offering Exceleron's prepaid system since 2006, says using the system lowers customers' energy use by about 12%.

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