Muscat: The Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) launched an optional prepaid electricity meter service, 'SABIQ', in the city yesterday. With this launch, the MEDC becomes the first company in Oman to use the prepaid electricity service.
The launching ceremony was held under the auspices of Sayyid Saud bin Hilal Al Busaidi, Minister of State and Governor of Muscat. Prominent personalities from various sectors of the Sultanate attended the event.
Speaking at the ceremony, Abdullah bin Said Al Badri, chief executive officer of the MEDC, said that the launch of the prepaid meter service was in line with the company's efforts to make use of new technologies to improve services and exercise better control on electricity consumption. The prepaid meter also aims to encourage an energy-saving lifestyle. By using the prepaid meter, the customers will be able to monitor their consumption in real time and identify devices that can save power by turning them off or reducing their usage, he said.
"With this meter, each customer will be aware of the consumption on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. It will also give customers full control over their electricity consumption. Customers will no longer have to wait for their bills or go through the hassles related to the bills. These prepaid meters would help promote a lifestyle of energy conservation," he said.
"Before launching 'SABIQ', the MEDC carried out experiments and tests for almost two years to ensure that the meter works smoothly and meets the needs and expectation of our customers," explained Badri.
Mansour bin Talib Al Hinai, chief operations officer, Supply at the MEDC, said, "We have made sure that this service will be obtainable through a facilitated and simple procedure. To make it easy for the customers to recharge, we have worked with a wide network of meter recharge distributors across Muscat.
"'SABIQ' is an optional service and not mandatory. If a customer applies for the service, we will programme the customer's meter, install it at their properties along with another unit called 'the home display unit' through which customers can charge their meter, monitor their consumption from inside the house without the need to even physically get close to the meter itself.
"The company provides 'SABIQ' service at the same tariff slabs as postpaid meters to encourage customers to convert to this service."
About the technical preparedness, Hamad Al Abri, manager for metering, said, "The company completed all trial phases for 'SABIQ,' and it went through a number of technical tests to make sure of its workability and convenience for customers in Oman. Preparations are complete and the company is now ready to receive new applications following the launch of 'SABIQ'. What is more interesting is that customers who are currently using the post-paid service may also convert to 'SABIQ' whenever they want."
Salman Ali Al Hattali, senior manager, Customer Relations, said, "The facility of 'SABIQ' could be availed by approaching the nearest branch of the company or the MEDC's convenience outlets available at the commercial centres in Muscat from 10am to 10pm or through the call centre of the company."
He said that the customers who have overdue bills in the post-paid system may also move to 'SABIQ,' and the MEDC can deduct a monthly amount from the 'SABIQ' balance to pay part of the outstanding payment each month as per a prior agreement. This will help customers pay his outstanding amounts on easy instalments.
He added that the recharge facility for the 'SABIQ' meters would be made available by the company through more than 1,200 outlets across different malls, hypermarkets, shopping centres and petrol stations. Necessary arrangements have been made to avoid disconnection of power supply during the official holidays or from 3.00pm to 10.00am next day.