14 October 2013 – Revenue collection has improved at a Steelport residential mining complex in South Africa since March 2012, when the Palace group installed smart meters there for its client Xstrata.

The project came about when Xstrata experienced problems with its customers living in its Steelport residential complex defaulting in electricity payments as well as by-passing the existing and faulty electricity meters. Compounding the problem even further, was the long distance that had to be travelled by the residents in the complex in their quest to purchase electricity tokens.

Grinpal, a 100% owned subsidiary of the Palace group and a solutions provider in the smart energy solutions field, was appointed to replace existing pre-paid meters in the residential complex with its new pre-paid smart meters. The scope of work included decommissioning of the old meters, installation and commission of the smart meters, installation of a vending station, installation of the meter communication equipment and capturing of the customers details. To ensure ease of access for the complex residents when it comes to purchasing electricity, Grinpal installed a vendor at a local Sasol filling station.

Benefits achieved by the system include:

  • The complex residents have access to an electricity pay point 24 hours a day.
  • The vending station is within close proximity to the complex.
  • Xstrata gets an accurate view of data on electricity consumed and will detect meter tempering and by-pass attempts as and when these happen.

Palace is hosting the back-end servers for Xstrata, and provides monthly reporting on revenue and tampers of the meters. No meter tempering has yet been reported since the installation in 2012.

The Palace group is active in small, medium and large sized smart metering projects in different parts of Africa and beyond.