In the United Kingdom, prepaid electricity meters were first introduced using parking-meter- type technology, according to John Howat, National Consumer Law Center senior policy analyst. Customers would insert coins into their electric meters to keep the power flowing to their homes. Today, he notes, the technology has evolved. Customers typically go to a kiosk where they load magnetic cards used to add credit to their meter, he explained. At the kiosk they insert cash or transfer funds using a debit or credit card, which then is loaded onto their utility card. When they get home, they swipe the card in their electric meters to add credit to their utility account. When the meter runs out of credit, power typically is cut off within a day or two on an automatic basis, according to Howat. The utility usually is not even aware of the shutoff.