Review: Powertime for iPhone

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 09 Feb 2010
Many South Africans have been in that sucky situation where your power goes out late at night, and you have to somehow find a way to buy prepaid electricity. This usually necessitates a trip to the nearest shop or garage which requires you to pay cash…. Blah, blah blah, you know the drill.

I have recently been shown a new app called Powertime which installs on your iPhone and enables you to buy electricity at any time of day, and for any electricity meter you have registered with them. When you go to the Powertime website, you register your electricity meter (you can register more than one as well), with some of your details. You also register your credit card, and then you fax them a copy of your credit card and your ID book. And that is the only “work” from your end (this is still less work than the numerous trips to the shop and back…).

Once registered, you install the Powertime app on your phone. The Powertime app will ask your username and password everytime, for security reasons. From there, select the credit card you would like to use, and which meter you would like to pay for. The registered meters have a neat dropdown list, with their actual addresses, so its easy enough to use. Then you enter the amount, and that’s it. Within a few seconds it pops up the token code that you can enter into your meter. Great.

While these types of solutions have existed on the web for quite some time in SA, this is the first mobile implementation that I have come across that is so polished and easy to use. Where every other site is exercise in frustration, Powertime is quick and easy to use. Proof that there are some great iPhone developers in South Africa… I came across a few small bugs, and the developers  (4i Software) let me know that the new version is on its way within the next month with new features (for example SMS a token to someone etc).

Highly recommended.

PS: Powertime is only available in the SA Appstore, so you have to make sure you have a SA Appstore account. If you using a US account, it is easy enough to switch between the two, even right on your iPhone. From the Appstore app, select “Featured” and scroll down to the bottom of the page. From there you can sign in and out into different iTunes accounts. When in the SA Appstore, simply search for Powertime.
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.