Pre-paid commodity system

  • US 4,795,892 A
  • Filed: 12/09/1987
  • Issued: 01/03/1989
  • Est. Priority Date: 12/09/1987
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
Patent Images

1. A system for the prepayment, metering and auditing of a utility service available from a service source and supplied to consumers, said system comprising:

  • central means for auditing all system transactions;

    means for transmitting distributor service credit information from said central means to a remote distributor;

    portable authorizing means unique for each consumer for retaining information enterable in said authorizing means relating to a purchase of a service credit by a consumer;

    a distributor terminal located at said remote distributor and including means for receiving said distributor service credit information from said means for transmitting and means for entering said information relating to a purchase of a service credit by a consumer in said authorizing means;

    a consumer terminal located at said consumer and connected to said service source, said consumer terminal including means for reading said service credit information from said authorizing means, means for storing said service credit information, and means responsive to selected inputs for enabling transmission to said consumer from said service source of an amount of said service equal in value to said service credit;

    an external meter means located at said consumer for monitoring usage of said service by said consumer, said meter means connected to said consumer terminal and having an information output;

    a meter reader inluding means non-invasively interfacing with said information output of said meter means for reading through said meter means, said usage of service by said consumer and the information stored in said means for storing in said consumer terminal, and means for storing the information read;

    means for transmitting the information read through said meter in said means for storing in said meter reader to said central means; and

    means for transmitting said selected inputs from said central means to said consumer terminal to alter the operation of said means for enabling.

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