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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Insular Affairs
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Marshall Islands Power Continues Prepaid Meter Program



August 16, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Tony Babauta signed a $200,000 grant to the Republic of the Marshall Islands' Marshalls Energy Company Inc. (MEC) to continue installation efforts for prepaid electricity meters for homes in Majuro. This award will be the second consecutive year this program is funded by the Office of Insular Affairs.

The prepaid electricity meters are similar to prepaid mobile cards, where consumers can buy certain units of power by making an advance payment. Previous funding allowed for the installment of 500 prepayment meters along with the associated hardware and software for the system. Due to increased and rising fuel costs, prepaid meters allow for a cost-effective and easy-to-use alternative.

"I commend the MEC for their efforts to revamp and improve the quality of power on Majuro. This program has proven to be incredibly effective by allowing consumers control over their own electricity consumption. Similar efforts have demonstrated that prepaid meters improve the suppliers' cash flow and the quality of service delivered. This is a win-win for everyone," said Babauta.

Funding is expected to allow the MEC to purchase and install more meters and further expand the system throughout Majuro.

"All of our islands face the challenges of soaring fuel costs and a near-complete reliance on imported oil. Successful programs such as this one, which builds on consumer awareness and produces efficiency for the utility, demonstrate that alternatives do exist and more importantly that they can be emulated in other islands," added Babauta.