Lilongwe Water Board Adopts Pre-Paid Metering System

The Madzi House, Lilongwe Water Board’s Head Office

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has introduced pre-paid water metering system to improve its service delivery.

The metering system is an upgrade from post-paid metering system which the Board has been using since its establishment in 1947. LWB acting Public Relations Officer, Trevor Phoya said the pre-paid metering system is one of the innovations the Board is implementing to, among others, enhance revenue collection and eradicate illegal water usage by simplifying water supply services.

Through the pre-paid system, a customer will be paying for water upfront before using it. The system is similar to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) pre-paid metering system.

“In addition, the pre-paid water metering system promotes best water demand management initiatives, as customers will be able to maximize water usage- according to the amount of credit in their pre-paid account- by curbing inessential or low-use values through price or non-price measures,” explained Phoya.

The pre-paid meters are programmed to stop the flow of water once the pre-paid credit is exhausted, and alerts a customer when he/she has low water credit. The meters have also a facility to enable customers view their history of consumption to manage their water usage. The meter operates using a Customer Interface Unit (CIU) through wireless communication.

Prepaid Water Meter

The STS decryption connection between the meter and the CIU provides a convenient interface to the customer. Customers will be using the CIU device to recharge their water meters and also access information like token acceptance and rejection, credit status and historical usage data. Customers will be using the CIU to top-up their account within the radius of 2 kilometers as long as there is no interference. And the water meter’s -design makes it immune to any tamper and fraud.

Phoya said all pre-paid meters will come with a start-up credit that will be recovered from subsequent customer purchases, and customers that have unsettled water bills shall be deducted 60 percent of every top-up they will make until the bill is settled.

“Once the start-up credit is exhausted, customers will be required to buy a 20-digits water credit token and top-up their accounts using any First Merchant Bank (FMB) branch.”

The pre-paid metering system is expected to eradicate delays in bill delivery; improve bill accuracy; instill self-management of consumption by customers; assist in immediate detection of leakages, and assist timely and speedy faults reporting.

Meanwhile, first phase of the pre-paid meter installation is targeting institutional customers before it rolls out to other Lilongwe water Board customers.

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