Expanding electrification to reach those still in lack of it in poor rural areas of developing countries requires huge investments. Service providers normally recover these costs through postpaid metering systems, but rate of compliances are usually very low, usually leading to net losses for utilies.
The service providers do seek alternative models of payment to tackle this problem. For instance, prepaid electricity meters a technological solution, but they may lead to a decrease in electricity use. These findings imply a trade-off for the electricity provider: revenue from consumption falls but more of it is recovered on time and at a lower cost.
Within Cobham, Giovanna and Jacopo are now studying the business sustainability of a similar model designed to supply off-grid areas in Pakistan: this solar system provides enough electricity for light, a mobile charger, a fan and entertainment devices (TV and DVD) with a Pay as You Go format. Similarly to pre-paid meters, this system allows to tackle usual economic barriers preventing access to such technologies, and at the same time ensure higher recovery rates for the utilities.