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Mobile phone prepayment for household water connections in Ghana

Safe Water Network Ghana, with funding from the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, implemented a prepaid metering programme for household connections in selected communities to improve water stations’ financial viability and consumer satisfaction. Consumers prepay for water with mobile money – an electronic wallet service on mobile phones. Once credit is exhausted, a built-in automated valve shuts water flow until the consumer makes the next purchase. After about five months, preliminary results indicate that prepaid meters improve water stations’ financial viability. Although household connection sales volumes decreased by 25% from prepaid meters, revenue increased by 18% and arrears decreased by 46% because of the meters’ improved revenue collection mechanism. As a result, stations’ gross margins improved from –8% to +30%. After an initial learning period, customers and station operators both preferred prepaid meters to the post-paid meters. Consumers reported feeling more control and ownership over their water consumption. Operators reported saving up to 7 hours per week on payment collection. Though mobile money penetration is high (72%), using mobile money for water bill payments is not top of mind and would require additional awareness campaigns to achieve increased uptake.
TitleMobile phone prepayment for household water connections in Ghana
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsYeboah, C., Hwang, S., Tetteh-Zomayi, F.
Secondary TitleAll systems go! WASH Systems Symposium, The Hague, the Netherlands, 12-14 March 2019
Pagination9 p.: 3 fig.: 3 tab.
Date Published03/2019
PublisherIRC
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsactivations, arrears, mobile money, Prepaid
Abstract

Safe Water Network Ghana, with funding from the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, implemented a prepaid metering programme for household connections in selected communities to improve water stations’ financial viability and consumer satisfaction. Consumers prepay for water with mobile money – an electronic wallet service on mobile phones. Once credit is exhausted, a built-in automated valve shuts water flow until the consumer makes the next purchase. After about five months, preliminary results indicate that prepaid meters improve water stations’ financial viability. Although household connection sales volumes decreased by 25% from prepaid meters, revenue increased by 18% and arrears decreased by 46% because of the meters’ improved revenue collection mechanism. As a result, stations’ gross margins improved from –8% to +30%. After an initial learning period, customers and station operators both preferred prepaid meters to the post-paid meters. Consumers reported feeling more control and ownership over their water consumption. Operators reported saving up to 7 hours per week on payment collection. Though mobile money penetration is high (72%), using mobile money for water bill payments is not top of mind and would require additional awareness campaigns to achieve increased uptake.

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The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.