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Technology

Boost for low-income households as prepaid cooking gas launched

Volker Schultz
Head of M-Gas Volker Schultz (left), takes Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph through the dynamics of the gas innovation at Metta, Riverside, Nairobi on January 13, 2020. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA  

As the world moves towards cutting carbon emissions, Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has partnered with British gas company Circle Gas to launch M-Gas, a revolutionary prepaid gas service for Kenyan households.

M-Gas is tackling affordability barrier to accessing clean cooking by eradicating both the upfront cost required for a gas cylinder and gas cooker — often more than Sh6,000 — and the high refill cost of at least Sh2,000 per 13 kilos of gas.

The innovation, which is already being used by Nairobi’s Mukuru kwa Njenga residents, seeks to discourage the use of traditional sources of fuel such as firewood and charcoal by low earning families.

With a goal to empower millions of Kenyan homes to enjoy access to safe, affordable and reliable cooking gas, the invention provides flexibility of purchasing gas based on households’ needs and how much they can afford at a time.

“For more than 19 years, we have maintained our commitment to our purpose of transforming lives by exploring new innovations that create opportunities for our customers and uplift their lives.

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“Safaricom’s partnership with M-Gas will for the first time empower millions of Kenyans with affordable access to clean cooking gas, an opportunity we believe has been previously underserved,” said Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph during the launch at Metta, Riverside, Nairobi.

Each M-Gas setup will include a gas cylinder and a two-burner gas cooker which will be provided to customers for free.

The gas cylinder is equipped with an innovative smart meter that shows how much gas a customer has paid for and the balance. Payments of as low as Sh5 can be made through Lipa na M-Pesa.

The gas automatically disconnects when a customer completely consumes the amount paid for.

“M-Gas is proud to be working with Safaricom on this pioneering effort to bring affordable, convenient and clean cooking solutions to millions of low-income households in Kenya.

“Safaricom is a leader in both technology and customer service and we look forward to building on this exciting new partnership,” said Volker Schultz, Head of M-Gas.

The telco is extending its digital payment capabilities to M-Gas, powering the smart meter technology on each cylinder that enables customers to have control over how they use and pay for gas.

The smart meter has made it possible for M-Gas to provide a solution tailored to local economic conditions reflecting the daily spending patterns.

The cost of gas to cook three meals a day is Sh70 as Safaricom seeks to tap on the social networks of Community Based Organisations to assist in identifying priority areas for expansion in Kenya’s low income regions.

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