SA’s City Power rolls-out smart meters

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City Power says it is ready to roll out the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), also known as smart meters, across Johannesburg.

Smart meters are electricity meters which are linked to computer systems which report the exact amount of electricity used during a particular period, without requiring physical visits to properties by City Power technicians. This contributes to billing accuracy, as consumption is monitored in real time.

According to City Power Communications General Manager, Sol Masolo, the smart meters roll-out will commence this financial year and is scheduled to conclude in September or October 2015.

As part of a project business trial, City Power has over the past eight months installed 153 smart meters in Ferndale and 2 500 with large power users in Johannesburg.

“The purpose of the business trial was to ensure that the roll-out takes place efficiently and smoothly. During the business trial, we also deployed meter data management software to collect meter reading information and provide it to the City of Johannesburg’s billing system.

“The business trial also enabled us to compile key business processes and to set up the back office environment so that we can realise the expected benefits,” said Masolo.

As part of the business trial, City Power trained staff responsible for deploying, operating and maintaining smart metering.

“City Power is proud that the project is also benefiting small businesses. We are training emerging micro and medium enterprises to complement core staff, thereby enabling City Power to deploy between 10 000 and 12 000 meters a month across the City of Johannesburg,” he said.

The business trial comes to an end on 15 November, and will be followed by the full deployment of the smart meters. Phase one will see 50 000 smart meters being installed.

“The business trial and lessons learnt will enable us to successfully deploy all 50 000 meters before the end of June 2014 as part of Phase 1 deployment plan.”

Key benefits

By installing smart meters, the city is able to receive accurate electricity usage information, accurate data with which to plan future infrastructure expansions. Customers benefit as the technology enables the city to relay critical information to their houses and access factual information regarding their billing.

They will be able to perform independent monthly bill reconciliations and validations, to proactively manage spending on electricity throughout the month.

The initial phase will focus on larger power users located throughout the city. Meter installation should take no longer than an hour and will be carried out in consultation with residents.

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