The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) is set to roll out a $45 million smart meter project that will enable medium and large power users to manage their consumption, an official has said.
Speaking at the 2018 energy management symposium in Harare on Thursday, ZETDC managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri said the migration to smart metering, which is set for the fourth quarter of the year, will avail real time information to medium and large power users to assist them in using electricity efficiently.
“The smart metering project will be a game changer for the power utility as it is set to bring ZETDC up to date with international best practices,” he said.
“The project that is estimated to cost $45 million and translating to a $1 133 investment per meter will enable ZESA to ensure that we bill and collect revenue in a timely and efficient manner, at the same time detecting fraud as it happens, and also plug loopholes in the electricity transmission and distribution system
“The objective of this workshop is to prepare our medium and large customers for the migration to the smart metering platform that is expected to take place in Q4 this year and familiarise them with new energy efficiency legislation that will impact on their operations as well.
“This project is coming at a time when we are making a clarion call to you all to take stern measures to correct your power factor, the development that will result in operational efficiency in your lines of business.”
Eng Chinembiri said ZETDC had not carried out any load shedding since December 2015, which shows that the energy requirements of the country have been met, and the nation is enjoying uninterrupted electricity.
At least 300 megaWatts (MW) were added onto the national grid giving, further stability to the power supply situation.
Eng Chinembiri said the organisation experienced theft and vandalism of transformers.
“In 2017, Harare region lost a total of 282 transformers of different sizes valued at $5,6 million to theft and vandalism and this year to date we have already lost 60,” he said.
“Our affected customers who could not be supplied from alternative sources have had to go for three to four months without electricity and this has affected our revenue collection now that load shedding is a thing of the past.”
Eng Chinembiri said ZETDC engaged its sister company, ZESA Enterprises, to manufacture transformers locally with the intention of solving the problem of shortage of foreign currency that is required to import them.
Banks such as CBZ, ZB and FBC were coming in to fund backbone infrastructure at medium voltage level and the monies are recovered from the prepaid meter sales, he said.