Hydro One customers will be able to opt in or out of a proposed program to “pre-pay” electric bills, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault insists.

Thibeault also insisted the controversial application by Hydro One – to replace some smart meters with new “pre-paid” meters – won’t target the poor.

“When I talked to Hydro One about this specifically, they said this is about giving people choice,” Thibeault said Thursday.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns, who raised the issue this week in the Ontario Legislature, suggested the Minister isn’t credible when he says requiring consumers to pre-pay for power won’t focus on the poor.