Hydro One is considering allowing its customers to use pre-paid meters for their electricity use.

The proposal is contained within a massive Ontario Energy Board (OEB) application, which also asks for a rate increase of 0.5 per cent this year and 4.8 per cent next year.

The application says the pre-paid meters would minimize Hydro One's financial risk by requiring customers to pay for energy before using it — in particular for customers who are deemed to be a high collection risk.

But Hydro One's executive vice-president of customer care and corporate affairs says it would not be used as a collection tool.

Ferio Pugliese says if the OEB allows Hydro One to move forward with pre-paid meters, they would be offered to customers as a choice and wouldn't be forced upon anyone.

He also says — despite language in Hydro One's application — that customers would not be disconnected once their pre-payment ran out.