NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) on Tuesday signed an agreement with Barclays Bank of Kenya enabling customers to pay their electricity bills through direct debit.
Through the partnership, power consumers participating in the direct debit payment system will authorise the bank to accept and pay KPLC\’s monthly electricity bills up to a certain amount, either from their bank accounts or Barclays credit cards.
The move also comes as the electricity supply company is looking to consolidate its bill payment system in an effort of making it more accessible to its customers.
Speaking during the signing, KPLC Managing Director Eng Joseph Njoroge said the partnership would give the company an effective revenue collection mechanism that will ensure the sustainability of the business as it carries out its capital expenditure activities.
“As a service provider and a business we want to come up with new products that not only create convenience for our customers but also enhance our business sustainability and revenue collection mechanism,” Eng Njoroge said.
Barclays Managing Director for East and West Africa Adan Mohammed said the bank had put in place an automated verification system to check the details of the collection instructions for both Barclays and non-Barclays customers, with quick feedback to KPLC.
"This partnership with KPLC is an example of how Barclays works closely with corporate clients to enhance their value chain, and bring greater efficiency to their businesses,\’\’ Mr Mohamed said.
The innovative partnership will offer over 1.2 million KPLC customers greater convenience when settling bills, and an added bonus of not having their electricity supply cut off.
Eng Njoroge said the new solution was timely given the high number of disconnections KPLC makes on a monthly basis as customers forget to clear their bills.
“A segment of our customers at times forgets they have a bill to pay at the end of the month and the convenience we want to create for them is not to be thinking of that bill at all,” he said adding customers would be required to approximate monthly consumption and authorize the bank to make the payment for them.
Eng Njoroge said KPLC was looking to work closely with more banks and service providers, to cut down cost of setting up pay points for its customers.
KPLC has over the past year partnered with mobile telephony companies Safaricom and Zain allowing customers the convenience of settling their bills through money transfer services M-PESA and Zap. It has also set up desks at post offices across the country.
At the same time, the KPLC is set to introduce 250,000 prepaid meters by the end of the year following a successful pilot project that saw 24,000 customers switch to the new meters.