Through a press release issued earlier this month, the City noted that the project is not new to the city as it has been in motion since 2014/15.”
However, “the City is now launching a new phased upgrade programme that will see approximately 100,000 meters that are reaching the end of their lifespans being replaced over the next five years at a cost of R165 million ($12.6 million),” the statement said.
Upgraded programme deployment of prepaid meters
The City of Cape Town explained that the upgrade programme, which is free of charge, will be area-based, with every suburb in the city being scheduled to benefit.
The order in which areas benefit will be determined based on the number of electricity meters in need of replacement.
Residents are urged to visit the City’s website to view the schedule showing when the programme will reach each area.
Managing electricity accounts
The city’s Mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste sservices; and energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, said: “Eventually every customer in the city will be supplied via a prepaid meter, which will protect the service against bad debts.”
He continued: “Because the operation and maintenance of the electricity service is funded through the electricity tariffs, if residents run up large bills that they are unable to pay, it means that there is a shortfall in the resources necessary to keep the service up and running.
“Non-payment of electricity accounts was seen as one of the contributing factors to load-shedding in recent years.”
Further to this, Limberg explained: “Not only does the roll-out of prepaid meters ensure that cash is available for the City to perform maintenance and upgrade programmes, but it also allows residents to better manage their consumption and avoid being shocked by high bills at the end of the month.”
“Our analysis shows that residents supplied via prepaid meters use an average of 10-15% less electricity due to the increased oversight provided by prepaid meters,” the Councillor said.