Buying Electricity on your Mobile Device

Recently in Botswana a number of phone companies have provided the additional service of buying electricity over the phone. In Botswana, most amenities are pre-paid instead of post paid like in America. For example, cell phone minutes, electricity, and gas are all pre-paid or purchased ahead of time prior to using the items.

I am excited to hear that electricity can be bought over the phone. Prior to this, and several additional changes by the electric company, there was only one place where you could buy electricity in Letlhakeng. I would often walk 30 minutes to this store in my village only to find out that the network to access the electricity system was out. Some people would then leave their money, electricity ID, and cell phone number at the shop. They would then request the cashier to contact them once the network returned. Initially, I was totally opposed to this idea, and would return home feeling that I walked pointlessly down the hill. I felt that leaving my money with the cashier was a bad idea. “I would NEVER do that in America,” I would say to myself. Months later after exhaustion and failing to obtain psychic powers, I realized that I am not in America and began this new act of trust. Earlier this year more shops have recently began to start selling electricity. Many of them utilize these wireless tools that look like mobile card swipes. Additionally, we are now able to buy electricity over the phone. I am super excited, and while I cannot utilize all of these new resources I am very happy they are available for my community.

Now if only there was a way that a receipt could be sent to my email after purchasing electricity units, I would be one happy camper.

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