Umeme should stop insulting consumers
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
I read with dismay the story, “You will pay before using power in 2014,” Daily Monitor, October 30. The presumption here is that Umeme customers cannot pay their bills. This is insulting, and Umeme can only get away with it because it has a monopoly.
In countries where prepayment is offered as an option, it is usually the case that the customer has repeatedly defaulted on bills and the only option for them is to accept a prepayment meter. Tariffs for customers on prepayment meters are usually much higher.
A more sensible approach for Umeme to take would be to give customers a reasonable fixed period (say a month) to settle outstanding bills. Those who fail to clear their bills in that period (or do not reach a mutual agreement to extend that period with the company) are then automatically switched to prepayment meters.
This should be accompanied with consumer sensitisation otherwise Umeme should be ready to face so many legal battles.