4 May 2012 – Foroyaa online reports that the Gambia’s National Water and Electricity Company (Nawec) has seen outstanding debts by customers for electricity consumption reduced following the introduction of a Cashpower pre-payment metering system.

The utility plans to gradually phase out conventional meters in the country, with this process to be completed by the end of this year. The existing metering system sees consumers obtain electricity on a credit basis, and its phasing out will resolve the problem the utility faces whereby its field workers have to contend with consumers regarding arrears and disconnections. It is also to the longer term benefit of customers who currently experience uncomfortable disconnections if they cannot settle their electricity bills, and then have to pay an additional amount for reconnection.

However, in the case of new applicants for a pre-payment meter electricity connection, those who have their compounds located more than 100 metres from the distribution network will have to incur some extra cost to cover infrastructure such as poles.

Nawec, which has the monopoly to supply electricity to consumers in the Gambia, has been in the spotlight for its inability to provide reliable energy and to satisfy the nationwide demand. Consumers have complained about the erratic and expensive nature of electricity supply in the Gambia. Nawec hopes to see its ability to deliver service improve with the new metering system and it is also calling for electricity tariff increases to enable it to deliver a better service.