New Pay-As-You-Go Cooking Gas Service Launches in Kenya

Safari Supa Gas. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Local gas distributor and retailer, Safari Supa Gas, has partnered with PayGo Energy to launch Kenya’s first pay-as-you-go LPG gas.

PayGo has launched a Cylinder Smart Meter which provides real-time data on household gas consumption. Each meter has a unique ID which customers use to pay for gas through MPesa. The customer is only ever charged for the gas they use – much the same as paying for electricity tokens.

LPG is cleaner, safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly when compared with traditional cooking fuels on the market such as charcoal and kerosene. It is a particularly good solution for difficult to reach areas because it can easily be transported by road. The challenge, however, is that until now gas has only been available for purchase by the cylinder, and when the gas runs out the customer has to go and buy a new one. Invariably this happens at the most inconvenient time; while in the middle of cooking.

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The concept of pay-as-you-go is not new. It’s how most Kenyan households pay for their electricity. What’s new is taking that same experience, and replicating it for cooking gas.

“When the customer runs out of credit, the gas automatically shuts off. When they add additional credit, their account is instantly credited and the gas service resumes. Customers can top up as little as Ksh1 at a time,” Ash Berman, Head of Corporate Development at PayGo Energy explains.

Safari Supa Gas and PayGo Energy officials demonstrate how the service works. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]
The Cylinder Smart Meter is an IoT device that attaches to the top of an LPG cylinder. To get a customer started, Safari Supa Gas delivers a full cylinder and attaches a Cylinder Smart Meter. Customers then pay in whatever amounts they feel comfortable, all through MPesa. The customer never has to worry about how much gas is in the cylinder; so long as they have credit in their account, they will always have gas available for cooking.

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“Safari Supa Gas staff use the PayGo digital platform to monitor consumption in real time. Our staff always know how much gas is left in each customer’s cylinder. When the gas is about to run out, we send an agent to the customer’s home to replace their cylinder with a full one,” noted Safari Supa Head of Business Development, Flora Njagi.

The two companies had to work hand in hand to realise the launch of this world-first technology here in Kenya. “Safari Supa Gas brings a growing distribution network and the operational expertise required to scale across Kenya. PayGo brings a commercially ready smart meter and software platform, and a focus on continuing to innovate to drive the industry forward. Together, we’re the perfect team to revolutionise the cooking experience for all Kenyans.” explained Ms Njagi.

“For us this moment has been many years in the making. We’ve been developing, testing and refining this technology in Mukuru kwa Reuben since 2016,” said Ash. “We hold ourselves to very high standards, particularly around safety and the customer experience. We’re really pleased with how far we’ve come, and with the tremendously positive feedback we’ve received from our customers so far. Now it’s time to make sure there’s a smart meter in every home in Kenya!”

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