Karachi, Pakistan, December 12, 2016 - ARE member and solar energy provider Nizam Bijli has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to reach 1 million off-grid rural beneficiaries in Pakistan with affordable solar energy solutions, access to financial services and health insurance by 2020. In addition, the company commits to support 25,000 micro-entrepreneur distributors (including 2,500 women), and train 500 technical support staff.
Launched in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Almost a third of Pakistan’s population (55 million people) live in remote areas without access to electricity. Even for grid-connected customers, electricity is increasingly unreliable and expensive — power outages can last upwards of 22 hours in rural areas. For those in rural areas that are off the grid, households spend between US$20-30 a month on traditional energy sources such as kerosene and firewood.
Nizam Bijli was established in 2015 to provide solar energy to Pakistan’s off-grid communities, it is a subsidiary of Nizam Energy a traditional rooftop solar company. In addition to being cleaner and safer than kerosene or wood, solar power is less expensive than other sources of off-grid power such as kerosene, enabling rural communities to be more productive. It not only gives them a safe and reliable means of charging mobile telephones, working and studying at night, but ensures that they will never again have to endure the risks posed by harmful smoke.
Nizam has been able to maximize its reach to remote communities through an inclusive pay-as-you-go model offered through small village shops run by local entrepreneurs. These independent shop owners are supported by Nizam’s team of certified field officers, specialized technicians and support managers. Nizam also helps these micro-entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through monthly training sessions on its product, basic troubleshooting, new product updates, sales and mobile money.
“Clean renewable energy is one of our greatest tools for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Paula Peleaz, who heads the Business Call to Action. Nizam Energy connects low-income, off-grid communities with affordable energy. We are proud to welcome this inclusive business to the BCtA.”
Nizam’s customers have the option of purchasing solar energy in cash or on a 12-month, 18-month or 36-month payment plans (all plans include health insurance). The cheapest plan allows customers to buy electricity at a price $0.5 per day. Payments are made using mobile money, which guarantees the transactions’ security, simplicity and reliability – even for those without access to banks.
“After a lengthy period of experimenting to develop the right product for our market, we are striving to develop the best model to ensure its success,” explained Usman Ahmad, CEO of Nizam Energy. Extending health insurance our energy customers adds significant value, but we are also exploring other uses of our distribution network, such as providing access to clean water.”
As the company grows, it remains focused on its core mission of achieving energy independence in low-income communities and reducing Pakistan’s dependency on fossil fuel imports. Its aim by 2020 is to electrify 1 million households in Pakistan and two more emerging-market countries – with an eye on expanding to Africa.
For further information:
Business Call to Action: Tatiana Bessarabova at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nizam Energy: Saad Ahmad at email@example.com