Transition from electricity post paid system to prepayment: From consumer to customer


Conference: Metering, Billing/CRM India
Location: New Delhi, India
Presenter: Prashant Sharma
Abstract: Presented by Prashant Sharma at Metering, Billing/CRM India

This paper deals with the social aspects of converting the electricity consumers in India from the post paid system to the pre-paid electricity system.  Electricity customer in India is tuned to a system of post payment where in meter reading is done by the utilities and the customer get a monthly / bimonthly bill for the electricity consumed. All the utilities in India have tuned their business processes in line with this fundamental. This system has been successful in old economic model of revenue collection. With economic progression there is a change in the revenue collection model; viz. avenues of payment collection have now changed from the utility specific payment collection centers to  internet based payment, retailer like Oxigen and Easy bill coming up, cheques drop boxes, kiosks are now common. With these models the utilities are working out changes in the legacy systems to enable easy payment, prepayment electricity is the next logical step forward. Parallel has been drawn in the Indian economy with the growth of prepaid mobile telephony.

As prepayment project grow in numbers and volumes in India, utilities in India have identified that implementing such a system needs greater customer interaction. Essential the service levels that the utility provides to the customer are now increasing and with introduction of prepayment systems the bar is being raised higher and higher. Specific instances of such system are discussed in the paper; where in the transition of utility mind set in India towards providing electricity to providing electricity services is traced and hence the change in mindset of treating the consumer of electricity to customer in electricity business is established.

The paper also examines the appropriate technical choice that the Indian customer is willing to accept. Reference is drawn from the various solutions provided in the Indian market by the pioneers in this field. The paper is based on the trails of prepayment metering systems done in India so far and presents factual information on the results of such trials.