KPLC, Safaricom in service deal

April 30, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Electricity customers can now settle their power bills through their mobile phones after the Kenya Power and Lighting Company signed an agreement with Safaricom for a pilot mobile phone based power bill payment service.

At the signing ceremony on Thursday KPLC Chief Executive Joseph Njoroge said that with the steady increase in KPLC numbers due to accelerated power connections, it had become necessary to provide power bill paying options that were convenient and innovative.

“We see value in this partnership since M-PESA has a countrywide network and the service will offer our customers convenience when paying their electricity bills,” he said.

Mr Njoroge added that the service will aid their revenue collection across the country.

“Our business is capital intensive and effective and timely collection of revenue has a significant bearing on effective implementation of our projects and programmes. Consequently it will ensure our success as an essential service provider and business,” he said.

Safaricom Chief Executive Michael Joseph said that the partnership was important as it would offer customers a reliable and convenient means of paying bills.

“It is important to look at consumer needs and address them through innovation. This way those registered with M-PESA will enjoy the convenience of paying their bills from wherever they are,” Mr Joseph said.

At the same time the Safaricom boss assured subscribers that they had taken all the necessary measures to ensure customers do not lose money.

“We obviously tried to make the system as fool proof as possible but should you realise you have paid to the wrong account, one can call M-PESA customer care on 243 and the payment will be corrected,” he said.

Mr Joseph appealed to customers to ensure they entered the correct account number to avoid any inconveniences.

Currently KPLC has a customer base of more than 1.3 million, while M-PESA has over 6 million subscribers and both CEOs feel that the new payment system will be greatly appreciated.

Safaricom has a partnership agreement with over 60 companies, which use the M-PESA service for revenue collection.

One of the advantages of using M-PESA to pay bills said Mr Joseph would be the decongestion of banking halls, something Mr Njoroge was quick to echo.

“One challenge we have faced over the years is congestion in our existing banking halls. This partnership will contribute immensely to our desire to de-congest our premises, as it will now not be necessary for many customers to make physical visits to our banking halls.”

During the signing of the agreement it was also revealed that the new initiative would be communicated to consumers through aggressive marketing, under the Easy Pay programme, that will make it easy for KPLC customers to identify bill payment points.

Customers using the service will be charged Sh15 to pay electricity bills of between Sh100 and Sh10,000 while those paying between Sh10,001 and Sh35,000 will be charged Sh25.

Customers are also urged to make their payments two days before the KPLC payment due date to avoid any power disruptions.

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