Factors influencing adoption of the Electricity prepayment metering system: a case of Makadara and Embakasi Divisions, Nairobi Province
KPLC implemented a prepayment system in Nairobi (currently on pilot) which was to be rolled-out countrywide if successful. Prepayment refers to the payment of services to the utility or service providers before those services are actually rendered. In this case being prepaid electricity. The 'technology helps customers manage their power budgets, avoid disconnection for non-payment of bills meaning no more disconnections and reconnection fees required and no more waiting for reconnection after payment. This technology also enables customers avoid queuing to pay their bills over the counter. No more bills or erroneous reading and with the convenience of purchase and the instantaneous supply on loading of credit - thanks to a 24hr and widely distributed vending system made possible, where credit tokens can be sold by third party vendors or through GSM technology like MPesa, customers monitor and control electricity usage. Similar electricity prepayment models have been cited in several countries in Africa and in the West, which have applied the technology and adopted it. Countries like South Africa, India, China, in some US states and in the UK. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors influencing the adoption of the electricity prepayment metering system amongst the residents of Makadara and Embakasi divisions of Nairobi province. The objectives and research questions of this study were to establish how and to what extent the following factors influenced the adoption of the new electricity prepayment metering system: Access to information or lack of it, the level of education, economic status, the benefits of the prepayment metering system and the income levels. Using the Descriptive Survey design, the researcher attempted to correlate these factors and establish how they influenced the consumer's adoptability of the new technology. The aim was also to gauge the success of the prepayment project based on the number of residents in the pilot phase who had adopted this system. Data was collected using questionnaires with open-ended and close-ended questions and interviews. The study revealed that a good percentage of Nairobi's residents would prefer the electricity prepayment metering system as opposed to postpaid. However since the population r: countrywide is not yet exhausted, with extensive marketing from the power utility - to create awareness and disseminate information, more customers are likely to be brought on board.