In a press statement, the City announced that it will replace some 100,000 existing analogue electricity meters with prepaid electricity meters to eliminate estimated energy billing.
The 100,000 prepaid meters will be installed at a total cost of R165 million from March 2017 through the next five years.
The project is part of continued efforts by the city of Cape Town to modernise its energy distribution system and improve energy efficiency.
"Not only does the roll-out of prepaid meters ensure that cash is available for the City to perform maintenance and upgrade programmes.
Our analysis shows that residents supplied via prepaid meters use an average of 10 – 15% less electricity due to the increased oversight provided by prepaid meters," according to the city's official website.
The city introduced the prepaid electricity meters system in 2015 following an increase in bad debts.
Councillor Xanthea Limberg, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, said: "Eventually every customer in the city will be supplied via a prepaid meter. Non-payment of electricity accounts was seen as one of the contributing factors to load-shedding in recent years."
The prepaid electricity meters will allow energy consumers to use subsidised energy under the city’s Lifeline Tariff programme. The new meters are being installed for customers at no cost. [South African energy ministry launches $10.4m efficiency pilot].
The news follows the launch of a prepaid meters pilot project made in late 2016 by Indian utility Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana (TSSPDCL).
The utility’s prepaid electricity meters pilot project falls under a plan drafted by the Indian state government of Telangana to improve energy management and ensure grid reliability.
The project aims to test the ability of prepaid meters in helping consumers to practice sustainable energy usage and in optimising the utility's revenue collection through accuracy in power billing and quick identification of meter tampering. Under the pilot project, TSSPDCL has installed 100 prepaid electric meters at government schools and offices.
The results of the pilot will help the state government in deciding whether to implement a full-scale rollout of the system.
The mass scale deployment of the system will be done in phases with the first phase comprising introduction of the technology to some 60,000 government facilities.
Image credit: www.powertime.com.