Researched by: ABS Energy Research
Published: September 2007
Format: PDF and hard copy
Pages: 62
Price: $1092

Along with credit metering, prepayment metering is moving into a new phase and is widely seen as a metering technology of the future. Prepayment metering is a small segment of the electricity, gas and water metering market, with 20 million endpoints installed worldwide.

Prepayment metering has been in existence for about a century and is now moving into new realms of technology, offering considerable benefits to both utilities and consumers. Its growth is consistent with the advent of AMI technology. ‘Split’ meters – with a keypad in the user’s home and a control unit in a remote secure location – provide a way to prevent fraud and offer two-way communication between the meter and the energy supplier, as well as AMI functionality.

Despite initial opposition to the concept in some quarters, whenever prepayment has been introduced it has been well accepted by consumers, who react positively to its benefits. The criticism has come from politicized areas, where these meters have been a convenient target for activists against utilities. Their arguments do not, however, correspond with the experiences of the actual users of prepayment meters.

Prepayment metering was first established in the UK about 100 years ago. It was launched in the early 1990s in South Africa, when the decision was taken to expand the level of electrification, and where it has been an outstanding success. More recently it has been launched in China, which is now the largest prepayment metering market. Many other countries, especially in the developing world, are looking at the South African experience and regard it as a model of success.

  • The report analyses the major prepayment metering markets; UK and South Africa, and in less detail China and Turkey.
  • 38 other markets with experience of prepayment metering are identified.
  • Benefits and problems are outlined.
  • Market drivers are identified.
  • The report analyses the development and current status of the different prepayment technologies, together with commentary on future likely developments.
  • Prepayment meter manufacturers are identified, with major products and technologies.

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For further information, please contact Allan Young