Microchips in vehicles to curb fuel bill fraud

 17 Jan 2016 - 1:35

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Yousef Al Sulaiti, Manager, Information Technology, Woqod,  explaining the new system, at a press conference at the company’s Legtaifiya station yesterday. 
Pic: Baher / The Peninsula

By Mohammad Shoeb 
DOHA: To check any possible wrongdoings such as issuing of inflated bills by petrol station staff or fraudulent acts by some consumers, Qatar Fuel (Woqod) has started installing electronic microchips in vehicles.

In the first phase, over 60,000 vehicles, which are already registered with Woqod, will be covered under the newly-introduced smart fuelling and payment system.
A senior Woqod official said the tailor-made ‘fool-proof system’ will completely eliminate the possibility of any irregularities like price manipulations, frequent refuelling by unscrupulous motorists for pilferage and other issues.
The system, named ‘Woqodi’, works on a microchip affixed in a vehicle near the fuel tank opening. The chip, which carries details of the vehicle such as its registration number, name and location of petrol station (where a customer prefers refuelling), date, time and other details as desired.
“It’s a very smart and convenient system that we have introduced. It will provide full control to customers about the details such as accurate bill, amount purchased etcetera. It works at all our gas stations. It will also help reduce refuelling time,” Yousef Al Sulaiti, Manager, Information Technology at Woqod, told reporters. 
Al Sulaiti said that the system is going to bring a significant change in the experience of motorists at Woqod fuel stations.
The chip, priced QR500 for companies and QR350 for private vehicles, takes some time to install as it needs to be adjusted and the distance between the ‘demo-reader’ and the position of the microchip fixed. The modern fuelling and payment system eliminates the involvement of fuel staff at petrol stations. “The system automatically prints an electronically generated invoice of the transaction with specific details. The system also immediately sends a text message on a preregistered mobile number about the latest transaction and other important information,” he added.

He said since the system eliminates the exchange of cash and reduces time, it may also help address the problem of long queues at fuel stations, especially during peak hours.

The system has been tailored to let fuel start flowing from the dispensing nozzle after it is close enough to the tank. The moment nozzle is out from the tank, the flow stops. This aims to ensure refuelling is done only in the designated vehicle for which payment has been made. The use of the technology will also help keep tab on vehicles used for frequent refuelling for diesel smuggling.
Al Sulaiti said in keeping with Qatari culture, staff will be available to assist motorists for refuelling. 
Woqod is offering the system only to its pre-registered customers, including those with big fleet of vehicles, at limited number of places, including  Abu Hamour petrol station. The system, which is not mandatory, will be offered to other corporate customers and individuals by the year-end.
The new system, which initially works on a postpaid format, will replace the existing voucher system the company offers to ‘captive’ customers. But, according to the official, Woqod is working to issue integrated prepaid cards, which can be used to pay for other services provided by Woqod, such as car wash and Sidra convenient store. “The new service has evoked a huge response. So we have planned to offer it in a phased manner,” added Al Sulaiti. “Later, it can also be integrated with other GCC countries as similar smart payment systems are available in neighbouring countries.”

The Peninsula