15 June 2009 – Johannesburg based utility, City Power, is moving ahead with the installation of smart meters says City Power CEO, Silas Zimu. Zimu hopes to have the entire network remotely monitored by 2010.
He says further: “We need to research where it would be feasible to install solar lights not connected to the grid to reduce pressure on the national grid.
“We also have alternative sources of energy, for example, wind energy. We can argue about cost — but do we want outages and load shedding or do we want higher tariffs and supply?”
As part of a comprehensive programme to encourage consumers to save power, City Power is also starting a solar water-heating programme to take up to 600MW off the national grid.
“The city must own them, buy and install them, and introduce a surcharge that is less than the current charge,” he said.
City Power spends more than R1-billion a year on infrastructure, and there is strong emphasis on making sure the money is spent efficiently and effectively.
It has also focused on skills development. “Skills are not where I would personally like them to be, but we have managed to move lots of people from general workers into artisans and operators.”