Prepayment rolling out in Africa


The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has announced that installation of its first prepayment meters will begin during the first week in April in Kaduna. Addressing newsmen in Kaduna PHCN chief executive officer Jacob Meduteni said that the prepay system was intended to address the persistent complaints of customers relating to billing and payment.

“Let me highlight some of the advantages that are to be derived from the prepay system: non-reflection of payments, payments into wrong accounts, crazy or over-billing, wrong disconnections, new occupants inheriting previous defaulted customers’ bills in a building, and queuing for payment.”

Stressing the company’s commitment to the provision of a constant energy supply and to the success of the prepay project, Meduteni added that it will allow customers to plan and budget for electricity consumption and to control usage.

The PHCN’s project is one of a growing number prepay projects across Africa and these, along with other metering projects and billing and customer service issues, will form the focus of discussions at the forthcoming 9th Metering, Billing/CRM Africa and South African and International Prepayment Weeks, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa from 28 May – 1 June. The event, which is collocated with a number of other African power industry events, includes a technical study tour to meter sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“As African countries expand and develop their power sectors, metering, billing and revenue collection will need to underpin this, and the event will facilitate the sharing of experiences between utilities in the US, UK and Europe with their African counterparts, which will be invaluable,” says Jonathan Spencer Jones, editor of Smart Energy International magazine.

African Utility Week is the largest gathering of African utilities on the continent to discuss metering, billing and customer service issues. In 2006, 1,200 delegates participated in the event and the number is expected to exceed 1,500 this year.

For vendors wishing to enter the African market, exhibition spaces as well as sponsorship opportunities are available.
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