Telegram is a popular instant messaging service that first gained prominence after a major WhatsApp outage in 2014 that made users seek alternatives. Telegram offers a feature-rich messaging experience, with encryption, cloud storage, file-sharing on the fly and secret chats that can be set to self-destruct.
One major feature on Telegram is the use of automated accounts operated by software, known as bots. These bots offer a wide variety of automated features, such as telling the time, checking the weather at your location and searching for images based on a keyword.
Kenya’s electricity distributor Kenya Power recently launched an official bot to make it easier for users to make service enquiries via Telegram. The service offers insights into the user’s account information, enabling them to check how many units they have left if they’re a prepaid user, or what they owe if they are postpaid.
Chatting with the bot and making enquiries is done by typing # on the chat window, which brings a list of options. Users can then access a list of services provided by the bot after entering their account numbers.
The service offers a detailed breakdown of electricity usage, with information on taxes and levies charged on your electricity bill.
You can also see your current meter reading, previous readings, how many units you have consumed, the amount paid for your last bill, and your account balance if you are a postpaid user. You can also see the amount you owe if the electricity bill is past due.
Prepaid users can see the actual number of tokens they received for their last five purchases, as well as any amount owed for units not paid for. The Debt tab shows how much the user owes for units bought on credit.
Kenya Power has often received flak for poor customer service, with customer queries often met with a generic ‘send us your account number’ response when posting queries on social media. While this bot will make account balance enquiries much easier, for other problems you still need to call the Kenya Power Contact Centre.