Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) has said it will roll out prepaid meters across the region to clear debts people owe it, now standing at K200 million (US$491 400). Speaking at Mzuzu Sunbird on Wednesday during presentation of a monitoring and evaluation report for the prepaid meters pilot project which connected 1000 clients, NRWB chief executive officer (CEO) Titus Mtegha said findings of the pilot project done by Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation have prompted the board to connect all customers with prepaid meters.
He said the evaluation found that a number of customers were satisfied with the prepaid meters and that the board was getting more application from by customers to have prepaid meters.
Mtegha said with the prepaid meters in place, customers control water consumption and bills to save money.
The CEO said the meters will benefit both the board and clients. He said the meters will help solve conflicts of high bills, disconnections, re-connections, poor services and also help the board collect arrears now at K200 million.
“Our major challenge was customers owing us a lot of money which was affecting our operations. With the prepaid meters we will have readily available since customers pay before consuming and we supply what has been paid for. This will also help us improve on our services,” said Mtegha.
However, he said the board will still experience problems with government institutions when they don’t have readily available funding. He said some of the institutions on prepaid have already started accruing debts. He said the board is in talks with government on how their bills should be handled.
“You know there are security institutions such as police, MDF and prison that you cannot deprive them of water. We will need guidance from OPC on how the bills will be handled,” said Mtegha.
NRWB chairperson Reverend Levi Nyondo said the prepaid meters will help customers save a lot and bring a good relationship with the board.