Public utility Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has rolled out prepayment to more than 13,000 families in 16 city communities and another four municipalities in the Valle de Aburrá so far, the utility has reported.

At the end of April, 13,324 families had prepayment, which is just over 40 percent of the total programme rollout to an intended 31,177 families. Until just a few months ago over 90 percent of these households were disconnected.

April 2008 also marked the first month in the past three years in which there was a decline in the number of customers disconnected from supply.

The prepayment project was launched in August 2007 and demand for the prepayment system has far exceeded the initial expectations. While full rollout was planned over five years, EPM is now considering accelerating the project over three years.

Payment points have been established in shops in areas close to the users of prepayment and a total of more than 600 payment points are in place throughout the metropolitan area of Medellin.