Smart payment technology is becoming increasingly popular in the region with utilities seeking to implement revenue protection measures as well as to help consumers to better manage their electricity consumption.

Itron recently announced the signing of three major contracts with the Indonesian state-owned electricity utility PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to supply 800,000 keypad smart payment residential meters to the Java Bali region.

PLN's objective is to provide almost all new electricity connections with keypad meters and to replace old residential meters progressively.

"We prefer to use keypad smart payment meters, as they improve the efficiency of our existing postpaid billing and collection process as well as allowing the full optimization of our human resources by utilizing the services of our meter readers in other areas," said Ngurah Adnyana, PLN director operation of Java Bali.

In Sarawak, Sarawak Energy Berhad has just started a prepayment pilot project involving 1000 meters while in the Philippines, Manila Electric is planning for the rollout of prepaid meters in five years.

Meralco Senior Vice-President and head of customer retail services Alfredo S. Panlilio told reporters the company will soon pilot-test prepaid metering "to make sure there is a compelling value proposition for customers."

"We're undergoing tests and we're talking [to] potential partners that can give us the capability to do it. Obviously, prepaid metering relies on 'Smart Meters,' which we cannot yet bring to the entire customer base," said Mr. Panlilio. The utility is still identifying which customers will be covered and where prepaid metering will be viable

Prepayment meters will be a key focus during the 6th annual Metering Asia 2011 conference and exhibition which will be hosted by PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). The event will take place from 11-12 May 2011 in Bali, Indonesia.

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Zaf Coelho
Project Manager - Metering Asia 2011