THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transformation and Distribution (ZETDC) yesterday said 100 000 of its customers were still to migrate to the smart prepaid metering system aimed at optimising electricity management and usage.
BY KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
Smart meters are high-precision intelligent prepaid metering systems with bidirectional communication capability that optimises electricity usage by consumers.
Addressing various stakeholders from the medium and large power users at a workshop in Harare yesterday, ZETDC managing director Julian Chinembiri said to date, they had connected 615 000 customers to prepaid meters.
“In 2011, Zesa engaged Deloittes to craft a metering strategy for the power utility and I am pleased to say the engagement and strategy resulted in the implementation of the prepaid metering system for small (domestic) and business customers that have now been empowered to manage their own consumption of electricity,” he said.
“To date, about 615 000 customers have been migrated to the platform with a further 100 00 still to be converted from the old system. The second phase of the metering strategy involves the migration of medium and large customers to the smart metering platform and these 40 000 customers’ account for 60% of our electricity sales.”
According to ZETDC commercial director Ralph Katsande, 2 455 of these prepaid meters which will cover selected points across all regions are set to go live by the fourth quarter of this year.
The need for these smart meters comes as research by the ZETDC found that for every unit of unserved energy, whose cost supply is $12,40, the economy loses $3.
It was reported by State media in April last year that Zesa Holdings would invest nearly $200 million towards the installation of smart meters for medium and heavy consumers of electricity.
Chinembiri said the smart metering project would be a game changer for the power utility as it is set to bring ZETDC up to date with international best practices.
“The project that is estimated to cost $45 million, translating to $1 133 investment per meter will enable ZESA to ensure that we bill and collect revenue in a timely and efficient manner,” he said.
The smart meters are also meant to reduce debt owed to the ZETDC from defaulting mining, industrial and business consumers through electricity conservation.
“ZETDC is unfortunately owed a whopping $1,05 billion by defaulting domestic, mining, industrial and business consumers that are still on the post-paid electricity system, the position that has greatly compromised product and service delivery,” Chinembiri said
He said the purpose of the workshop was to prepare customers for migration to the smart metering system.
ZETDC deals in the distribution and retail of electricity to the final end user.