Yemen’s Ministry of Electricity started installing new prepaid electricity meters for residents last week, as well as government institutions, as an alternative for old meters where customers were billed later.
Harith Al-Omari, the deputy of the Public Electricity Corporation, said the corporation adopted the prepaid system to reduce the organization’s deficit which is largely due to unpaid bills by both residents and government institutions.
Al-Omari said the new meters that operate by accepting prepaid cards will also eliminate the difficulty corporation employees face when trying to read meters inside homes as the new cards will eliminate the need for readings.
Zuhair Al-Zubairi, the director of the new prepaid electricity meter system, said they will also solve problems the old ones caused like electricity imbalances, damage to central substations, and sudden voltage increases that cause a breakdown in electricity.
Al-Zubairi said the Public Electricity Corporation will provide the new electricity meters for free. The cards he says are designed to be bought in any amount starting from YR 100, less than $1, and are currently sold at the Public Electricity Corporation. After the corporation installs 100,000 meters, the cards will be available at local grocers, the same way phone credit is sold.
So far, 1,000 meters have been installed, including at the house of the electricity minister.
Over the past two years, Yemen has struggled to provide its citizens with enough electricity as it has sustained attacks on electricity towers, usually carried out by disgruntled tribesmen.