In Southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has called for eligible bidders to submit proposals for 150,000 STS (standard transfer specification) single phase prepaid meters, comprising of 100,000 BS connection type meters and 50,000 DIN connection type meters.
The prepaid meters will be deployed to both residential and commercial customers with a capacity of 100Amps and below.
Phase 1: prepaid meters
Senior Manager at ZESA Holdings, Wilfred Shereni, told ESI Africa that phase one of the prepaid metering project stretches across the whole country, however, there are a few areas which still utilise post-paid meters especially in the older suburbs in Harare and Bulawayo where there are loped service connections.
Shereni said: “These are suburbs built during the colonial era and they are sharing service connection cables. For the houses to be converted to prepaid metering, there is a need to first separate service connection and also upgrade wiring and the service connection cable to the required standard.”
According to Shereni, there are an estimated 120,000 installations still metered with post-paid meters.
Phase 2: prepaid meters
Shereni added that the tender out for 150,000 prepaid meters will be used “to complete retrofits of outstanding points still on post-paid meters, for new connections and fault maintenance.”
Shereni stated that to date, the ZETDC has replaced a total of 540,000 meters to prepaid meters.
Reaping the benefits of prepaid meters
ZETDC is installing prepaid meters in a bid to improve revenue collection.
Shereni explained that the collection index from the post-paid metering and billing system is around 70%. By implementing the prepaid metering system, the collection index will rise to more than 100% as customers will be able to pay for their current consumptions as well as debt payment.
Shereni concluded: “Prepaid meters have some inherent Demand Side Management features that will improve energy efficiency for customers as they will receive instant feedback on their energy usage, which will prompt them to save.”
Shereni said that the project is already reaping the benefits with overall improved energy efficiency and an increase in revenue collection.
He added that since the implementation of prepaid meters, there has been a 22% decrease in energy consumption, reducing strain placed on the grid by 110MW resulting in reduced need for load shedding.
The tender for 150,000 prepaid meters is scheduled to close on 9 June 2015.
The Zimbabwe electricity sector is currently generating 80% of its own power while importing 20% of hydropower from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam in Mozambique, Shereni added.