Azerigas Production Unit, a sub-company of SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic), delivers gas to 1.6 million consumers. With traditional mechanical meters, Azerigas PU was facing a number of issues, including fraud and collection of payments. Only 35 to 40 percent of payments were collected from end-users.
Itron´s smart payment technology offers an efficient and cost-effective method to secure revenue collection via “two-way” prepayment, using a smart card to carry credit to the meter and meter readings back to the utility. To date, 800,000 smart payment meters have already been deployed along with prepayment management and vending software, and associated services. Consumers can buy meter credit with their smart cards through a network of vending channels including self service terminals and home vending via internet.
As a result of the cooperation with Itron, Azerigas PU has been able to increase the collection rate of fees from the consumers up to 100%. Also, end-users were given the opportunity to close their old debts through payment instalments allowing Azerigas PU to recover 20% of overdues over the past 2 years. Today, consumers can independently define their gas budget and manage their balance.