In West Africa, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) said this week it has engaged in a contract with local telecoms firm Telco.The deal means the two will implement a smart meters project in Volta, a region in eastern Ghana.

According to GhanaWeb, ECG will install smart meters on all Telco's metering points in Volta for accurate billing of power consumed.

Under the project, which has so far installed 170 units of the total 270 smart meters, ECG is providing the smart meters while Telco is providing cables and other materials needed for installation.

The smart meters will allow Telco to monitor power consumption at its sites through a web application, which the telecoms firm will have access to, reported GhanaWeb.

Commenting on the deal, the Volta regional commercial manager of ECG, Sylvester Abrefah-Besea, said: “Our field officers often had problems gaining access to read the meters at most cell sites because these facilities are under lock and key."

Mr Abrefah-Besea added that “the AMR meter has an alarm system that will immediately trigger when anyone tampers with it or tries to engage in an illegality.”

ECG and solar technology

In other ECG news, the utility has also installed a net-meter at Ho Polytechnic radio station, Volta Premier FM to allow excess power generated by the station’s solar system to be fed into the national grid for use by other customers of ECG.

The development follows successful completion of a 10KW grid-tied solar photovoltaic system by the station.

The net meter will avoid the station from being billed excess solar power generated and fed back into the stations’ system.

ECG's Volta regional general manager Joseph Forson said: "ECG aims to consolidate the many gains made over the past year, and seal any loopholes through the introduction of the latest technology."

Smart meters Ghana

In 2014, Utility Ghana Water Company received endorsement from the national regulator to trial a prepaid water metering system in the West African country.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) endorsed proposals for a pilot scheme to cut wastage in Ghana Water Company’s operations.

Nana Yaa Jantuah, director of public affairs of the PURC, said: "PURC is not against the concept of introducing the metering system for utility services.

Of course, once installed, prepaid meters will reduce your commercial loses and the Ghana Water Company has a huge loss that has to be reduced."

Ms Jantuah also commented that this move also takes away the issues of illegal connection and theft.