City Power embarks on mass smart meter rollout

  • City Power has embarked on a mass rollout of its prepaid smart meters in Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg.
  • According to City Power’s CEO, the new meters are set to curb the city’s problem with non-payment of electricity.
  • 5 000 meters are being installed in Alexandra, which could reportedly draw the company R1 million every month.

At the beginning of the year, Johannesburg’s electricity infrastructure company City Power prepared to embarked on a city-wide drive to replace legacy prepaid electricity meters first introduced in 1993.

Nine months later the task has ramped up with the latest batch of meters installed in Alexandra, in the north of Johannesburg. City Power has confirmed to Jacaranda News that it has installed 5 000 smart meters in the area, which according to the CEO Tshifularo Mashava, could net the company around R1 million a month.

Unlike the legacy meters, the new smart prepaid meters allow for remote management of consumption through a SIM card. This means that City Power can remotely switch off your electricity if they do not receive payment.

Alexandra remains one of the poorest areas in Johannesburg, but City Power says it is still fighting against what Mashava calls “a culture of non-payment” city-wide. It estimates that residents and businesses owe it around R4 billion in defaulted electricity payments.

Mashava urges residents of the city to allow trained City Power agents to replace their meters. It is important to identify if an agent is legitimate, and the company shared that when the official arrives, you should ask to see a staff card with the following information:

  • Name of the official,
  • The ID number of the official,
  • The department they are from,
  • And expiry date with a colour coded strip (Blue is for permanent employees, Green is for meter readers, Purple is for contractors, Red is for Cut off team and Black is for interns/temporary staff).

In total, City Power’s rollout of smart meters in Alexandra will take roughly two months to complete, according to company spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

According to the local news site the Alex Reporter, councillors Adolf Marema and Tefo Raphadu were among the first residents to allow City Power to install the meters in order to “lead by example.”

“The aim of this project is to curb the high rate of non-payment for electricity services in the areas like Alexandra. The project will initially focus on the non-affluent areas of Alexandra, where only 2% of the pre-paid meters are currently vending in this township,” explained Johannesburg Councillor Jack Sekwaila.

[Image – Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash]


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