KENYA – Kenya’s largest telco firm, Safaricom in partnership with gas company M-Gas, has unveiled a solution that enables consumers to access and pay for cooking gas on a smart prepaid metered basis. 

The solution, backed by the telco’s narrow-band IOT network via 4G, will also enable consumers to purchase gas via their mobile phones.

The service is a pre-paid cooking gas subscription service that will allow customers to access cooking gas from as low as KSh1. According to Safaricom, cooking three meals costs Kenyan households an average of approximately KSh70 per day.

The subscription service includes a gas cylinder with a smart meter and a 2-burner cooker installed at the customer’s house at no upfront cost.

Once the cylinder is installed, the customer will purchase gas through M-Pesa. Once the payment is made, the smart meter will allow the customer to use gas similar to the amount that has been paid for.

Upon depletion of the prepaid account balance, the smart meter automatically disconnects the gas until the account is prepaid again.

In the case that the gas runs out, the smart meter will send an alert to M-Gas depot, who will then refill the cylinder at no extra cost.

Volker Schultz, Head of M-Gas, said, “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.” 

Michael Joseph, CEO, Safaricom, “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. 

“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.”

According to Safaricom, the extension of its digital payment capabilities as well as the smart metre technology has been effected to purposely allow low-income households to have control over how they use M-Gas.

M-Gas has launched in the Mukuru kwa Njenga area around its first depot. Safaricom and Community Based Organisations will assist in identifying the next priority areas for expansion. Ideally, this could expand across the nation given very many Kenyans use Gas for cooking.