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Business News of Monday, 26 October 2015

Source: B&FT

GWCL set to unveil Mobile App payment

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Consumers of water will very soon be made to pay their monthly water bills on any mobile network -- as well as check their bills, lodge complaints online in a new mobile application the Ghana Water Company is hoping to roll-out soon.

“We, as a company, are planning how to utilise current SMS technology to make sure people can have the flexibility to receive their bills and be able to pay them without the constant struggles and hassles they go through,” Richard Appiah Otoo, Chief Manager, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at GWCL said.

“When a meter-reader gets to your home, once the person reads your meter instantly, if you have a mobile phone you get your bill on your phone indicating how much you will pay for the month,” he said.

According to him, due to the reach and accessibility of mobile money, consumers will soon be able to pay their bills instantly rather than move to the GWCL pay points or outlets to queue up and pay.

“The various pay points allocated across the cities where it is difficult for customers to wake up early in the morning and wait for pay points will be a thing of the past,” he added.

Ing. Otoo, speaking at a symposium as part of the GWCL 50th anniversary celebrations, raised issues about meter theft -- which he said is costing the company close to GH?12million monthly.

To prevent the practice, he revealed the company has deployed its personnel to areas where the theft is rampant.

Ing. Otoo said GWCL will soon demarcate its operational areas into smaller areas in order to improve its monitoring process.

The GIS Manager stated that the company is still considering a pre-paid metering system.

Ing. Otoo said GWCL will continue to push the PURC to ensure it attains the needed 121 percent tariff adjustment it has requested from the utilities regulator.

“It is quite obvious that the tariff we pay now is very low. The quality of water that runs through our taps is world-class. All this also comes with the cost of chemicals, power, energy personnel maintenance, development of assets; all these come together to build up cost for the tariff we are proposing.”

The cost of producing a cubic metre of water -- GWCL claims -- is GH?8, which is making the company incur losses; also illegal mining activities are destroying the country’s water-bodies, compelling GWCL to add more chemicals to treat the water at a huge cost.