The Growing Influence of Telecom Companies in Off-Grid Markets
Friday, September 23, 2016
As the adoption of solar off-grid power solutions grow within energy markets across the world, operators are increasingly finding mobile money solutions a viable enabler of consumer tariff payments. Companies promoting home-based solar solutions and appliances have found an equally tremendous capacity to scale up using the now popular Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) model.
“Efficient tariff collection systems that would normally pose a hurdle for the fast-paced adoption of home-based solar solutions have now been enabled by telecom companies using the PAYGO model.”
In this model, off-grid power subscribers only get access to electricity supplied by the home- based or centralized solar systems when payment is made, which happens through phone-based mobile money solutions that use customer’s credit or dedicated vouchers via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes. In all use cases, the power supply is blocked automatically when the fees are not provided.
Efficient tariff collection systems that would normally pose a hurdle for the fast-paced adoption of home-based solar solutions (especially in rural and poorly banked communities) have now been enabled by telecom companies using the PAYGO model. They take advantage of the upward penetration of mobile phones in these markets and its ability to reach remote areas where alternative financial institutions and offline payment solutions can barely function.