Tokens to buy water likely soon in Nairobi

February 22, 2016 2:24 pm
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Swissquest Water Supplies Company will be conducting a pilot project in Buruburu estate in conjunction with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company over the next few months/CFM NEWS
Swissquest Water Supplies Company will be conducting a pilot project in Buruburu estate in conjunction with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company over the next few months/CFM NEWS
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22- How has your experience of buying electricity through tokens been like? Well, buying water tokens could be the next thing you will soon be doing.

Swissquest Water Supplies Company will be conducting a pilot project in Buruburu estate in conjunction with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company over the next few months.

“Swissquest Water Supplies Company is currently in the negotiation phase with Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company to enable residents of Nairobi buy water tokens,” Swissquest Chief Executive Officer Steve Muema said.

In a interview during the ongoing Africa Water Association Congress and Exhibition, Muema said that the move would enable customers improve on their household budgeting for the commodity, conserve water more and ease their management of water meters among others.

Additionally, the water metering solution means no bills, no credit problems and at the same time, no disconnection and re-connection.

“Customers will simply access water the same way they access services on their mobile phones; pay for the amount of water you need,” he explained.

Apart from Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, Swissquest is working with county water companies, property investors, landlords and other water service providers.

To these parties, Muema says they will no longer experience customer disputes, outstanding debts and the hassles of collecting payments.

“The water providers will also not need to administer administration fees and arrears collection,” he added.

How the prepaid water meter works

A customer has the option of sending money to the water company by M-PESA to purchase water credit, or buying from an M-PESA sales agent. If he chooses to purchase directly on their phone, after sending the money, the water company sends a 20 digit token on his mobile phone. He then keys in the digit token to the water meter ICU. This is then transferred to the water meter for the amount purchased.

“Another unique feature of the meter is that it rings when your credit is low, so you are never caught off guard,” he explained.

The product is expected to similarly ride on the high use of mobile money use in the country which has in the past surpassed the national budget.

But how will this new water innovation sit with customers?

“I will definitely look forward to it. Buying tokens is easy and convenient, cuts on time and I do not have to pay for something I have no used,” Esther Kamau, a Nairobi resident says.

Another Nairobi resident echoed Kamau’s sentiments saying it will save her the hustle of collecting water bills and keeping counts.

Others like Reagan Akaliche were not as optimistic; “Nairobi already has no water a majority of the time, why then pay for something you will not be guaranteed of?”

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