Whether they intend to or not, sometimes our members end up using third-party services instead of paying their bill directly to Prairie Land. While these services often work just fine, there are also situations where payments have been sent to the wrong utility or have arrived after the due date. This can result in unexpected penalties and service interruptions for a member who believes the bill has been paid.
How does someone get involved with a third-party payment service?
Some financial institutions that offer bill pay services are actually utilizing a third-party payment service. Other people come across these services when searching the web. They may type in "Pay my Prairie Land bill," and the results will include many options in addition to the Prairie Land website. These services can legally publish information about Prairie Land Electric and other utilities on their website. The payment page will at times display the Prairie Land Electric logo and contact information to market its online bill payment service to potential customers, so it can be a source of confusion for someone paying online for the first time.
Is this a scam?
The majority of third-party payment services are legitimate payment processors that allow you to pay multiple bills on the same website. However, because the cooperative is not affiliated with them, and has not authorized them to use our logo and information, this can lead to mistakes and interruptions in electric service. Prairie Land Electric cannot control when we will receive the member’s payment from a third party, which may result in a late payment from the member or even disconnection due to nonpayment. Not only that, but the service sometimes charges members extra fees for the “convenience” of processing their transactions.
Bottom line: The most affordable (TRULY FREE), safe and secure form of payment is SmartHub, Prairie Land Electric’s online bill payment site. SmartHub is a website and mobile device app that makes it easy to view and pay your electric bill with your computer, smart phone or tablet. Prairie Land Electric offers this secure online bill pay option as well as several other secure payment choices. Call us at 1-800-577-3323 to discuss which option best fits your lifestyle.
If you do choose to utilize a third party payment processor, please be aware that they may charge additional fees and that the payment will not be applied to your electric account until it is received by Prairie Land. While the processor charges your account immediately, they typically mail a paper check to your utility company, delaying the receipt of the payment by 7-10 days. If the payment arrives late, it is subject to penalties and disconnection for non-payment.
To avoid using third party payment processors by mistake, keep the following in mind when paying your bill online:
Type prairielandelectric.com directly into your browser window rather than using Google to find the website. (if you do use Google, be sure to click on the result that has a website address of prairielandelectric.com)
Visit prairielandelectric.com prior to paying your bill to familiarize yourself with the look and feel of the website. This will make it easier for you to recognize when you are on our site vs. a lookalike.
Remember, if you are being charged a service charge, you ARE on a third-party site. Prairie Land Electric will not charge you an additional fee to pay your bill online through our SmartHub online bill payment site.
If you have questions about paying your bill online, please do not hesitate to call one of our customer services representatives. We would be glad to help walk you through the process.