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  1. #1
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    Default Solving the Electricity Crisis - Pre-paid Electricity

    When I was in the South Africa, I noticed that the people pre-paid
    for their electricity. Each meter has a unique meter card (only works
    with that meter). People go to the local office and pre-purchase as much electricity as they wish . When the card is empty, they recharge it again.
    They also have a spare card.

    I see that this has a number of advantages:

    1. Households can budget their electricity and never end up with
    large bills that they cannot pay, resulting in disconnections or
    illegal connections.

    2. The electricity companies get the money upfront, just like telephone
    card companies! This increases their liquidity to purchase more fuel.

    3. The cost of electricity should be government regulated (just like the US) and increases allowed due to fuel cost increases. The incentive for an
    existing household with a legal connection (with or without meter) is that they would have control over their electricity bill. Customers with monthly
    bills will see a reduction by using such a system.

    4. Based on the meter card identification numbers,
    it would be possible to set up groups of electricity users (e.g. business versus
    private versus those who need to be subsidized). Cards can expire
    every couple of years so that people must go to the electricity office to get
    a new card. This stops people stealing meters from subsidize locations!

    The downside is the cost of installation and the time to do that nationwide.

    However, the electricity companies and the government can target areas where the problem is severe and even subsidize the installation in poorer areas and get their money back through the cost of recharging the card.

    Although to electricity problems in the DR are multi-faceted, I have
    one small suggestion: those who use electricity need to pay for it
    and have an incentive to do so. I don't know who to inform in the
    Dom. Rep. of this idea, but if you know anyone, please do so.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Default

    An Israeli company proposed this to Union Fenosa years back, but the company that uses this system has to make the initial system. At the time, it was easier for Union Fenosa to just collect from one client -- the government.

    Personally, I think this is the way to go and for sure with the success of the pre-paid telephone companies the government knows it is an option. Maybe one of our community can ask Radhames Segura, the new boss of Edesur/Edenorte, I will ask him what it would take to get the funds to implement this system and if they are considering it as an option.

  3. #3
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    Just like any solution, not going to work here. THis does not address the real problems at all:

    1) Distribution companies not paying the generators
    2) People stealing electricity before it gets to the meter
    3) Electrical company being completely unreliable, (who would pay in advance for kw hours that may never be delivered?)
    4) People who consider them bigshots that are too "good" or "important" to pay for eletricity. (on average, I think the DR has an extremely high percentage of good, important people, where else are you going to find so many that are so crucial to society that they cannot be expected to stand in line, pay for electricity, return stolen vehicles, etc.?)

  4. #4
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    They have the same system in the UK.

    The problem here is stopping people tapping into the cables before they get to the meter. Many countries that have successfully implemented pre-paid electricity also have under ground cabling.

  5. #5
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    Default A little Tap here and there

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert
    They have the same system in the UK.

    The problem here is stopping people tapping into the cables before they get to the meter. Many countries that have successfully implemented pre-paid electricity also have under ground cabling.
    I used to be the only one paying for power. Some resentful person broke my meter. I duly reported the breakage to the power company.I was told to report it to the Police.I told them it was not my meter and its on a street corner outside my property. I asked that if I am to be resposible could they put inside my walled compound. Answer.. No... I might Tamper with it.. Nothing heared since May and my bill has steadily reduced to nil. SOOO, I love this system. If you cant beat EM....Join EM...M.

  6. #6
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    Lightbulb Solution?? Too radical??

    What if special Edenorte crews, 4 men, checked all neighborhoods [w/o exception, eventually nation wide, not just barrios] between 1:00 am & 5:00 am, with a cherry picker truck.
    Each illegal connection [there must be 1,000s, perhaps hundreds of 1,000s] would have the house & connection photographed, the illegal connection disconnected, & all TVs & refriegerators in the criminal house confiscated & hauled away; all Edenorte crews would be accompanied by 6 military, each armed with machine guns, & trucks [plural] large enough to haul the TVs & refrigerators away.
    The next day: the owners - electricity theives would have to appear before a fiscal in public hearings, explain their conduct & the photos, & pay a substantial fine, in order to recover their appliances; failure to appear = loss of appliances; also, the names, addresses & copies of the nocturmal photos would be avialable to the media with publication encouraged. Unclaimed appliances? public autions every 30 days. High bidder gets the fridge!!
    I suspect that inf this system were in effect for 3 weeks, 99% of illegal connections would be voluntarily removed.
    Too Draconian? Not consistent with the Dominican character? Perhaps? Suggestion: Edenorte should contract the work out to a German firm[s]; the compensation for the subconctactor - 35% of the gross savings for 1 year. Just like a collection agency in the USA. Anything to lose? What does the IMF think?

  7. #7
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    This could not work, the military is too corrupt, police too. There would be streams of reports of rapes, robberies, extortions, bribes etc. Probably half of them true. Trust me, unless it's to clean out:

    a) an infestation of zombie haitian cannibal garage-squatters or
    b) a retarded Al Qaeda cell,

    you do not want the DR military or police going house to house. (these are the only two things I can think of that are more harmful than the police and military themselves, but at the same time dumb enough that the DR military and police could be effective against them)

    I think the best way to fix it is to set up local colmado sized mini-distributors in each neighborhood that would be responsible to collect for the electricity administered to that neighborhood. They would know who is paying and who isn't, and their profits margins would suffer from the people not paying, so they could complain to the local authorities and get the offenders disconnected until they cough up some cash.

    Of course this does not address the issue of the big industrial and government users that use the good-old-boy system and leveraging political authority not to pay, but neither does sending the military to their houses.

  8. #8
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    We do indeed have a prepaid system here in England, it is used in the main by people who have in the past not paid their bills and therefore had their supply disconnected by the electricity supplier. The only way they can then get their supply reconnected is by agreeing to use the prepay system.

    I think it works here because a] the power supply is constant, i.e. no blackouts etc - we know if we flick a switch we get light , b] cabling is underground, very difficult to "steal" electricity here, c] the cost of power is fair - you pay only for what you use, d] we can pick and chose our supplier, change them if we want - we can even buy electricity nowadays from the gas company, the phone company, probably even the waterboard!

  9. #9
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    Default

    But lots of people steal it?

  10. #10
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    Default Straight A's

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmydr
    But lots of people steal it?
    If there was a passing grade for connecting to Power, telephone, TV cable wires, then my neighbours would be top of the class. There are more people out carrying ladders looking to make 50 pesos, that you have to give them credit. I guess underground cables might slow them down a little but as Dominicans never finish a job the trenches would never get filled in. So. it would be business as usual....Back in Canada it was suggested that the Police shoot the next few persons that run a stop light. For some reason that didnt take off either..M.

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