Smart LPG meters out in Kenya, Tanzania

Tuesday October 24 2017

Total Kenya Limited employee sealing the gas cylinders during the launch of LPG storage tanks at the company's Industrial Area depot on November 30, 2012.

Total Kenya Limited employee sealing gas cylinders during the launch of LPG storage tanks at the company's Industrial Area depot on November 30, 2012. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

By KENNEDY SENELWA
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Digital technology that enables consumers to use mobile money platforms to pay for cooking gas is now in East Africa with three firms adopting smart meters.

Envirofit International, PayGo Energy and KopaGas Inc are using the pay-as-you-go model to get more people to shift from using charcoal to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

The three firms are providing LPG cooking appliances, gas filled cylinders and satellite-enabled smart meter valves in Kenya and Tanzania.

The pay-as-you-go model allows customers to purchase cylinders and accessories over time through mobile money while enabling the companies to make sales of liquefied petroleum gas in more affordable quantities.

Meters of PayGo Energy in Kenya, KopaGas in Tanzania and Envirofit in both countries send text messages to notify clients when their credit or gas in the cylinder is depleted.

PayGo users pay a reduced fee for initial supply of LPG cooker, cylinder and smart meter in Nairobi.

Pilot complete

KopaGas chief executive Sebastian Rodriguez said the pilot programme to digitalise Tanzania’s distribution in Dar es Salaam is complete.

KopaGas, working with oil products marketer Oryx Energies, gave each household a stove, a cylinder filled with LPG, and a meter after payment of a commitment fee.

Clients prepay on mobile money to access gas. KopaGas serves 15,000 clients monthly using digital payments.

Envirofit plans to expand its SmartGas technology based on the results of a pilot project in Kangemi, Kawangware and Mountain View in Nairobi. In the programme, Kenyans prepaid Ksh50 ($0.5) on their mobile phones to get LPG for cooking.

“We have 250 people enrolled in the pilot of the SmartGas valve. The lowest people can pay is $0.5 worth of LPG, roughly equivalent to buying a tin of charcoal,” said Envirofit director of communications Jessica Alderman.

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