A pre-paid power metering system in the Marshall Islands reported to be reducing power usage by more than 50 percent is being supported by the Australian government aid agency with a grant of nearly 600,000 US dollars.
AusAID says it will help the Marshalls Energy Company buy 1,800 meters, which will allow the utility to complete installation of the new devices for all its customers on Majuro Atoll by next year.
The utility company began installing pre-paid meters more than a year ago with funding from the US Department of Interior and the Asian Development Bank, largely to control spiraling debt.
A review of 350 of the first 500 customers shows that once the meters are installed energy use drops an average of 54 percent because people become power conservation conscious.
The utility company says the average bill of these consumers had more than halved.