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Prepaid Electricity Bills

For the longest time, the Swaziland Electricity Company has used the traditional billing system whereby the company sends a monthly electricity bill to consumers through the postal service. Recently, the utility company embarked on a countrywide project in which it completely abandoned the aforementioned system for prepaid electricity.

Prepaid electricity brings much needed hope in energy conservation and alternative energy sources in that, consumers no longer have the luxury of grace periods which allowed them to compound or accumulate a bill while continuing to consume electricity.

The consumer is now forced to be vigilant and careful as to the amount of electricity consumed. As a result, many people who never paid mind to energy saving habits such as switching off appliances not in use, switching off the geyser, and not leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms, are now taking to such energy saving habits.

There is also the benefit that the meters on which the prepaid electricity is loaded give an account of the kilowatts consumed, thus high consumers of electricity may reconsider and perhaps find alternative energy sources.

The new prepaid system also has numerous environmental benefits.

Since prepaid electricity is sold at many petrol stations, chain supermarkets, automated teller machines, and other vendors, the need for the numerous meter readers who travel around the country has been negated to nil. This in turn reduces carbon emissions from the fuel consuming modes of transport that were used to get to each meter.

The amount of paper that was used in billing customers has been reduced dramatically because the prepaid vouchers are far smaller than a traditional bill, there is no longer a need for a receipt when consumers pay their bills, and there is no longer a need for letters of demand. The self service that comes with prepaid electricity makes a noteworthy contribution to mitigating the negative environmental effects that electricity brings forth, directly or otherwise.

The prepaid electricity system is a good example of how government and companies can take advantage of technology to achieve desirable results without compromising quality of service.

The hope is that a good precedent has been set by the Swaziland Electricity Company, others will follow soon.

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