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Zimbabwean government aims to improves power supply through power import
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The ZETDC is taking steps to prepare for an operational smart grid by 2018

In Southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) is set to release a tender for the procurement of 60,000 smart meters for medium and large power users across Zimbabwe in June.

Speaking with ESI Africa, senior manager at ZESA Holdings Wilfred Shereni said that the tender extends to include the backend system, which comprises a Meter Data Management System and Enterprises Service Bus, a communication software for integration with third party systems.

Smart meter systems

According to Shereni, the smart meters will be targeted at customers with a capacity above 100Amps.

This is due to the current STS prepaid metering systems being restricted by technological limitations.

Shereni said: “The current prepaid meters are deployed at points with a capacity of 100Amps and below, which cannot implement demand metering as they are for energy metering only.

“Meters that are above 100Amps are billed for energy usage and demand and will require a meter that can measure and meter both attributes.”

Initially the tender called for 300,000 smart meters, which was cancelled and reduced to reflect the number of ZETDC’s medium and large power users customers.

Vendor financing

Shereni explained that the smart meter project will be vendor financed. Eligible bidders are expected to include their funding terms upon bid submission.

“The ZETDC is looking for vendors with low interest rates, long grace periods and long repayment periods of three years or more. The project is expected to finance itself and the money recouped from the meters should go towards payment of the vendors”, Shereni said.

Revenue collection

Shereni explained that the smart meter technology is being implemented as a solution to the ZETDC’s low revenue collection, where the objective is to move all energy consumers to prepaid metering systems.

“The prepaid meters installed by ZETDC are semi smart meters as they have dormant smart metering functionality that can be activated by installing additional components such as data concentrators”, Shereni added.

Tender Timeline

The tender is expected to be released in the first week of June 2015 and will close within 30 days should no extensions be granted.

The tender for the 60,000 smart meters will commence with a pilot phase for 10,000 smart meters.

Shereni added: “The additional 50,000 smart meters will be awarded to suppliers who have successfully participated in the pilot phase.”

This follows ZETDC issuing a tender for 150,000 STS prepaid meter systems which is scheduled to close on 9 June 2015.

Smart meter roadmap

The smart meter rollout is part of Zimbabwe’s larger smart grid plan.

Shereni said: “There is a sequencing road map for a smart grid which has deliberately been targeted to start with the deployment and implementation of functionality which will improve revenue collection and customer service.”

Shereni disclosed that the country expects to have a smart grid operational by 2018.

“This is line with the Zimbabwe Economic Blue Print ZIM-ASSET. The deployment of smart meters and establishment of a smart grid is expected to bring economic and societal benefits as well as benefits to the utility”, Shereni concluded.