we power mobile payments

BuyPower – a new convenient way to purchase prepaid electricity

BuyPower – a new convenient way to purchase prepaid electricity

May 2017

mHITs launches BuyPower South Africa – a new convenient way to purchase prepaid electricity using airtime.

 View full media release

mHITs (pronounced Em-HITS), a multi-award winning pioneering developer and operator of mobile payment services, has announced the launch of its BuyPower mobile prepaid electricity vending service in South Africa. This is the first service of its type in South Africa where mobile phone airtime is used directly to purchase and pay for prepaid electricity. The payment model represents a disruptive but effective and convenient solution to the purchase of prepaid electricity. It also enables the sale of prepaid electricity in remote and regional areas for the unbanked where other forms of micro-billing or electronic bill payment are uneconomical or impossible.

The BuyPower service provides emergency electricity vending with a fixed purchase amount of ZAR 20. It is not intended as a long term substitute for general or ongoing electricity purchases.

To use the service, users simply send an SMS containing their prepaid electricity meter number to 42004 and the 20-digit prepaid electricity token is returned in an SMS. No pre-registration or bank account is required. No smartphone app or download or internet access is required. All transactions are made via SMS. Payment for the electricity is automatically deducted from prepaid airtime credit or added to their postpaid account. The service is available on nearly all South African mobile networks including Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin and Telkom/8ta and supports prepaid electricity across most South African municipalities.

“The BuyPower South Africa service represents a break-through for consumers who constantly face difficulty when purchasing prepaid electricity.” says mHITs CEO Harold Dimpel. “The BuyPower airtime vending model is not only convenient, it can provide a far more cost-effective payment channel for utilities and their customers.” he continues. “Micro-billing for electricity using mobile phone airtime is a disruptive concept but has been proven to be highly successful in other markets. It’s simple, convenient, and just makes sense – everyone wins.” he concludes.

For more information on the BuyPower South Africa service visit www.buypowersouthafrica.com.

about BuyPower

The mHITs BuyPower platform is an award winning mobile vending solution enabling the purchase of prepaid electricity via mobile phone with payment made directly using carrier airtime. Payment is made by debiting the users prepaid mobile phone airtime credit, or for post-paid users is billed to their mobile phone account.

This simple but effective concept has a proven business model that has a rapid ROI and benefits all stakeholders. It also provides tremendous benefits and convenience to end users. The platform is ideal for servicing regional and remote areas where micro-billing is uneconomical or impossible. In some cases, BuyPower enables electricity to be rolled out in regions where previously it could not due to the inability to collect payment such as remote islands or isolated communities. mHITs is the first and only provider in the world to operate this model.

about prepaid electricity

In many emerging markets, it is common for electricity to be provided and metered as a prepaid service.  The home or building is fitted with a prepaid electricity meter with a unique meter number and also a numeric keypad and a display. Traditionally, users purchase a prepaid electricity voucher over-the-counter and receive a printed receipt from their local electricity shop or agent. The receipt contains an encrypted 20-digit token that can only be used for the nominated meter.  The token digits are manually entered into the prepaid electricity meter using the keypad and the new purchased value is applied.

In most emerging markets, users do not have a bank account, do not have access to credit or debit cards or any other form of electronic payment, and as a result most prepaid electricity transactions are made in cash. Also, most users only purchase a small amount of electricity at a time – often only one or two days’ supply. Sometimes electricity shops or agents are sparsely located, have limited opening hours or are offline due to technical issues. Consequently, the prepaid electricity vending process is highly inefficient. Queues for purchase of electricity can be very long – particularly in the late afternoon and on weekends if open at all. Often consumers must travel by bus, taxi or on foot from their village to the nearest town with an electricity shop or agent which can be hazardous and dangerous.

Mobile prepaid vending solutions such as BuyPower mean that users can safely, conveniently and reliably purchase electricity 24 hours a day from their own home, saving time and money on travel costs.