Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) is testing a pilot scheme in Nairobi for prepaid electricity sales. Potential customers will be able to pay for electricity in advance, along the same lines as they can for mobile phone calls. If the test works in the capital city it will then be rolled out across the country. The scheme is designed to attract small domestic customers rather that industrial clients, who are expected to stay on the post-paid system.

KPLC is recruiting agents to sell the prepaid scheme in the pilot areas and over 15,000 special pre-payment meters have already been installed in estates across the city. The project hopes to transfer 25,000 domestic customers to the new system by the end of February.

The new users will no longer have to pay a deposit for an electricity contract but the existing complicated system of domestic tariffs and sales tax is causing confusion among initial customers. However KPLC is hoping that the Energy Regulatory Commission will eventually introduce a single tariff for pre-payment customers and simplify the sales tax system.

KPLC, which has nearly one million customers, aims to connect 120,000 new customers a year.