Scratch cards for pay-as-you-go electric customers


Johannesburg, South Africa — (METERING.COM) — May 23, 2008 – Landis+Gyr in South Africa has introduced scratch cards to assist electricity utilities provide an even better and wider service to their customers by making the purchase of electricity more convenient.

“Landis+Gyr’s ‘Scratch Power’ cards work in much the same manner as the cell phone scratch cards,” says Mark de Kock, Landis+Gyr’s product manager (systems). “The scratch card is purchased by consumers at convenient outlets such as petrol garages, shops and retail outlets. On purchasing a scratch card in a denomination of their choice, the consumer simply scratches the foil area at the back of the card to reveal a PIN number. Using their cell phones, consumers simply sends an SMS text message containing their prepayment meter serial number plus the scratch card PIN number to the cell phone number printed on the scratch card. Shortly thereafter, the consumer receives a kWh credit transfer number via SMS which they enter into their prepayment meter to obtain the electricity credit.”

There are two main benefits of the scratch card for the purchase of prepayment electricity. First it provides a major advantage to the consumer in that the purchase of prepayment electricity is no longer limited to the point-of-sale facilities or the utility vending points available. With the introduction of scratch cards, the utility can distribute these cards to vendors of their choice throughout the town or village, making it easy and convenient as the consumer no longer needs to travel to traditional vending points.

Secondly, the scratch card system provides a major benefit for the utility in that it reduces the cost of making prepayment vending facilities available to the consumer. The vendor requires no computer hardware or point-of-sale devices, as the processing and encryption of the prepayment vouchers is done at the main prepayment back office, which is already managed by the utility system administrator. All transactions are on-line and visible to the utility management. This saves the utility the burden of extensive technical support and ongoing training of vendor staff.
The Scratch Power system interfaces to the utility’s existing Landis+Gyr Suprima system via the e-Vend server, making implementation simple and cost-effective. An additional requirement is the purchase and installation of the Scratch Power server which comprises a software module and hardware. The system can be managed by the utility’s prepayment system administrator and only minimal training of the utility’s prepayment staff is required.

Scratch Power is a prepayment electricity vending solution for areas with GSM coverage, but with no on-line vending points.