Minister Dskiamai Mavhaire has confirmed that the Zimbabwean government will go ahead with plans to change from prepaid meters to smart meters. Zimbabwe, which has high levels on non-technical losses, sees this as a way of combatting this type of loss.
According to the Minister of Energy and Power Development, the plans for smart meters were at an advance stage, and would be a prerequisite for all newly built homes.
Despite reports that there was a lack of consensus within Zesa around the need for the smart meters, and concerns around the cost, the government is firm on the decision as it believes it could save money in the long run – Zesa currently loses up to $10 million monthly due to theft.
“They are only finishing installing the prepaid meters, which we hope it will be anytime soon,” said Minister Mavhaire.
“After clearing the prepaid meters, we are going to tender and companies will be selected through the normal process, that is, through the State Procurement Board. We are definitely switching over to smart meters because prepaid meters in place do not tell the centre that they are being circumvented resulting in some consumers using power for free.”
Zesa is to install 800 000 meters, 500 000 of which will be prepaid meters, while 300 000 will be smart meters. To date, the power utility has installed more than 420 000, which were being supplied by Solahart, ZTE, Finmark and Nyamazela of South Africa.
Minister Mavhaire said the defects on prepaid meters were costing Zesa and benefiting consumers.
“We simply need a system that reports back to the centre any shortfall or meter bypassing taking place,” he said.
“We will also activate the dormant function on the prepaid meter to enable them to report back to the centre.”
Smart metering is common in Europe but a number of African countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Malawi have adopted the same technology.
Infographic: What surface area is required to power the world with solar?
Zimbabwe stands firm on smart metering