Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, people around the world have become accustomed to staying home to avoid spreading the virus. For many, this meant minimizing trips to the grocery store and foregoing group outings. However, in places like Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia, citizens must still leave their homes to purchase electricity.

In many parts of the world, including Timor-Leste, consumers prepay for electricity the same way some people utilize prepaid phone plans. To purchase electricity, consumers often buy electricity credits through kiosks set up by the electricity provider.

Recognizing that people would have to leave their homes and gather around these kiosks to purchase electricity, Electricidade de Timor-Leste (EDTL), which provides electricity for Timor-Leste, is offering a $15 per month prepaid token credit for two two months to more than 160,000 customers by working with Itron Indonesia. The electricity credit will help avoid crowds of people gathering to buy electricity credits at the EDTL boxes located throughout Dili and other parts of Timor. Limiting the need for people to leave their homes, EDTL is ensuring that consumers can practice social distancing while still providing electricity.

To help distribute and generate the electricity tokens, EDTL has been working closely with Itron Indonesia, which provides service management for the prepayment systems in Timor-Leste. Additionally, Itron provided support in creating custom programs to distribute the credits to residents.

Beyond providing credits, EDTL is expanding its implementation of Itron’s prepayment system, which provides residents with a vending system using SMS (Short Message Service) vouchers through their mobile phones. With this service, residents can purchase electricity in a convenient, cost-effective way.

As people around the globe continue to experience the ripple effects of COVID-19, we are thankful for energy providers who are helping keep the “lights on” during this pandemic.

Paul Nelsen
Vice President, Customer and Market Experience in APAC - Itron
As Vice President of Customer and Market Experience for Asia Pacific, Paul is responsible for sales and marketing of Itron’s portfolio throughout the Asia Pacific region. Leveraging on more than two decades of experience in the energy industry, Paul is leading Itron’s growth in the areas of Software and Services, smart cities, renewables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

In his 15 years with Itron, Paul has held senior roles in R&D, Sales, and Marketing related to Smart Metering and Smart Grid. He has been instrumental in many key projects that have advanced the state of the art in Meter Data Management and AMI. Paul has been working in the Asia Pacific region since 2005.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Commercialization from North Carolina State University, and is a Professional Engineer.