Advanced Smart Meters are continuing to change the dynamics of electricity metering across many municipalities in South Africa. Smart Meters now form a critical component in the fight to save electricity and are also heeding the call for a greener environment through clever usage of electricity. Benefits of Smart Meters include:
- Prevention of rolling blackouts
- Protection of distribution equipment
- Prevention of consumer supply interruption by the Utility ( the consumer connects and disconnects himself / herself to / from the electricity grid )
- Enables the consumer to do better energy planning for the family
- Rids the country of unnecessary carbon emissions, due to reduced and efficient energy usage by the country and makes thus reduces the effective user’s, utility’s and the country’s carbon footprint
- Contributes to the deferment of expenditure on electricity and other energy generation
- Makes the world a better and intelligent place to live in
Success Stories of Grinpal Smart Metering Technology
One of the first municipalities to have the smart meters installed by Grinpal was Thabazimbi municipality located in the west of the Limpopo Province. By the end of 2002, Grinpal had 749 Smart Meters completely installed. Apart from helping the end users i.e. the consumers/home owners control their electricity usage and bills, smart meters also help the principal customer (e.g. municipality) collect revenue in an efficient and time-saving manner, thereby providing advantages to both the customer and the consumers of electricity.
"Smart metering has been a very good investment for the municipality. The technology has not only improved revenue collection, but it has also positively impacted on maintenance and operational costs," comments Director of Infrastructure for the municipality Cornelius Booysen.
"For example, after the meters were fully installed, in an area where we used to collect approximately forty five thousand rands (R45, 000) over a period of 3 months, we are now able to collect three hundred and fifty thousand rands (R 350,000) in the same area within the same period."
According to Booysen, the technology has not only improved revenue collection, but it has also positively impacted on maintenance and operational costs.
"Previously one would have to physically monitor sites and now monitoring can be done at a click of a button from your desk, saving you a lot of time and money. You are also able to switch off customers without going to their homes which also assist in regulating earnings," adds Booysen.
Another municipality that is also reaping the benefits of smart metering is the Maluti-a- Phofung municipality. Commenting on the benefits of the smart meters technology from Grinpal, Dr. Mzangwa, Thabo Mofotsanyana District mayor of which Maluti belongs to (formerly mayor of Maluti-a-Phofung municipality) says "The meters have enhanced revenue collection and meter tampering has decreased substantially since the installation of the meters," says Mzangwa.
"Meter tampering was a big problem for us which resulted in the municipality being unable to collect revenue at the rate we wanted. But since the meters were installed, this had been addressed. The meters are efficient and I would recommend them to anyone who plans to use the technology," notes Dr Mzangwa.
To date Grinpal has installed about 9,000 Smart Meters in Maluti-a- Phofung municipality. In recognition of the benefits that the Maluti a-Phofung municipality has reaped through the technology, an order of more than 20, 000 Smart Meters has been placed to Grinpal.
"Grinpal is working with all the nine provinces to ensure a steady supply to municipalities, metros and property developers," states Gert Gous, Senior Vice President, Technology at Grinpal. "We are also rolling out the meters in other countries too. We are currently conducting pilot studies in India and are finalising the first two contracts for installations in Nigeria," concludes Gous.