Mzuzu — Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) has said it has successfully managed to install 4,500 prepaid meters to its customers which the hope of reducing default rate in water bill payments.
According to the Board, this arrangement which will see all postpaid meters phasing out will make customers to be flexible on how they can use water based on their income.
NRWB's Public Relations Officer, Edward Nyirenda said the first phase which started in December, 2020 and ends this June has so far seen over 4,000 prepaid meters installed.
"We embarked on this project in 2019 when we procured about 8,000 prepaid meters. As of now, we have already installed 4,340 meters in Mzuzu and Ekwendeni.
"We will from April, 2020 start installing the meters in Karonga, Mzimba, Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and Chintheche," he said.
Nyirenda disclosed that customers who have had their postpaid meters replaced with prepaid meters have already started using the new meters and are enjoying the service.
The PRO said before the installation of the prepaid meters, some customers had unpaid bills and as one way of servicing those bills, the board is be deducting 50 per cent of any amount paid by such customers to purchase water.
"In the early stages of this project, we had some customers who had bills in arrears from postpaid system hence we deduct half of the amount whenever they purchase any unit of water to service the old bills.
"We will keep on deducting half of the money they pay until they settle the old bills, some customers never understood this arrangement and kept on complaining until we explained to them this arrangement," he said.
Nyirenda pointed out that about 10,000 prepaid meters would be installed in second phase of the project which is expected to roll out in August, 2020.
A resident from Katoto in Mzuzu City, Lusubilo Mwenelupembe said the prepaid meter system was better compared to the previous arrangement as this one allows customers to control their water usage whilst monitoring their consumption.
"During the postpaid era, I always had complaints on water bills which I thought were abnormal as they used to higher side than I expected but now, I will be in a better position to control bills on my own," he said.
The NRWB has over 50,000 customers and intends to reach out to all of them with prepaid meters by 2025.