Uganda’s electricity consumers yearn to pay the right price for the power they utilise. To empower its customers to live this dream, and deliver a more efficient and effective service to them, West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECo) is set to introduce pre-paid electricity meters in West Nile.
According to Mr. Fabian Ahaisibwe, the regional manager, WENRECo, the pre-paid metering service will be unveiled in August this year, as soon as successful tests on the prepayment system are completed.
Conversion from the current billing system to pre-payment is expected to start as early as July. During this conversion, all the existing 4,000 customers of WENRECo will have their metering systems converted to pre-payment. “Subsequent to this, all new connection applicants will be on the pre-paid metering system. This conversion will not imply an additional cost to the existing end-user,” Mr Ahaisibwe added.
Under this system, WENRECo’s customers will be required to buy prepaid electricity tokens or voucher cards, load the units onto their prepaid meters and then receive power in their houses or businesses. When the units are about to be used up, the customer will receive a signal from the prepaid meter notifying him or her that he or she is about to reach the usage limit. Customers will conveniently access the prepaid tokens and vouchers from WENRECo offices, and authorised distributors throughout the West Nile region.
The innovation is part of the electricity company’s Switch to Prepayment Metering Project which has been designed with the overall project objective of improving the commercial performance of WENRECo through reducing losses, increasing business efficiency and increasing customer satisfaction.
“With this transition, our customers will be able to control and monitor their day-to-day power usage, and manage their utility budgets better. In addition, there will be no more bills, and reconnection or disconnection fees to be charged,” Ahaisibwe said.
The Switch to Pre-payment Metering Project will be implemented in the West Nile districts of Arua, Nebbi, Koboko, Maracha-Terego, Packwach, and Yumbe. Installation of the support infrastructure for the project is ongoing and is expected to be complete by July.
West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECo) is 100% owned by the Industrial Promotion Services (K) Ltd. (IPS). IPS is the industrial and infrastructure arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). WENRECo has a 20-year licence to build, own and operate electricity generation, distribution and sales facilities in the West Nile region. Its areas of operation include; Arua and Nebbi, Koboko, Maracha, Zombo and Yumbe districts. WENRECo constructed and operates the 3.5MW Nyagak Hydro Power plant on Nyagak River and a 1.5MW thermal plant in Arua.