Prepaid meters closer

-GPL to meet with earmarked communities

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) says customers are set to benefit from its prepaid metering system which will allow them to manage their consumption of electricity.

GPL officials are to meet with residents in earmarked communities to inform them of the new technology and the benefits to be derived from its implementation. According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release GPL CEO Bharrat Dindyal said the company intends to provide training simultaneously with the installation of the meter.

He said through the new system consumers will become more knowledgeable about their electricity use and a significant reduction in demand is expected. The system contains a central meter that is erected on lampposts also with other households. A display unit is then installed in the consumer’s house, interconnected to the central meter. According to Dindyal upon purchasing power the customer discloses his/her meter number to the seller and the number is used to access GPL’s billing system. It permits the consumer to indicate the quantity of power to be purchased. During this process a 20-digit code is assigned which is linked to the meter number issued to the customer.

Dindyal also said “If someone remembers the code or takes away the paper they can’t steal your power because it is specific to your meter so it’s secure. Even if you lose it you can just call into GPL and we can give you back that code,” he added. The CEO further explained that the prepaid system has a wide range of features such as a built-in alarm mechanism and an electricity duration indicator. The system also caters for emergency power in cases where a customer forgot to purchase electricity. This feature is available on a scratch card.

GINA said the power company is exploring the possibilities of installing this technology during the pilot phase with a $500 credit start-up. GPL said customers can request as much as $1,000 credit and every time it shuts down credit can be added to their account. In five years GPL expects to install over 70,000 prepaid meter systems.

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