Safaricom has partnered with M-Gas to launch a prepaid cooking gas service. This move aims to improve access to cooking gas particularly for low income communities.
In this new technological advancement, Safaricom uses the Narrow Band (NB) IoT network to deliver a smart meter that will be used to monitor the payments and usage of the gas.
Each complete setup of the produt will include a filled gas cylinder and a two-burner gas cooker. This will be provided hand in hand with the smart meter. Additionally, they will be installed at no upfront cost.
However, the consumer will only be able to use the gas once they make payments through the MPesa platform. Once the payments are made, the smart meter will show how much the consumer has paid for, and they will begin to use the gas.
When the payment is used up, the smart meter automatically disconnects the gas, until further payment is made. Additionally, if the cooking gas is depleted, the smart meter will also send an alert to a distributor, who will in turn refill the cylinder at no new cost.
Safaricom’s prepaid cooking gas venture comes at a critical time when the new regulations governing the retailing of LPG have been reinforced. The rules, which require retailers to obtain valid licences from EPRA, have seen many retailers close businesses, sending consumers into a turmoil.