The Polokwane Municipality took another step towards its 2030 Smart City vision with the official launch of its smart meter initiative this past week.
The municipality launched the Smart Metering project to members of the media and the community of Polokwane on Thursday 7 September.
It said the aim of the launch was to connect with stakeholders so that they are aware of the project and better prepared when municipal workers come to their homes for installation.
The smart meters will be rolled out in both prepaid and post-paid mode at no cost to the customer. According to the city prepaid smart meters are to be installed for all electricity users – both large power and small power users – making this roll-out probably the largest project to be undertaken by the municipality.
Battling inaccurate billing
The city initiated the project with the objective of not only overcoming problems related to inaccurate billing but also to encourage conservation of resources like water and electricity.
“For a couple of years we have been announcing that the municipality is experiencing serious challenges with regards to water and electricity losses as a result of burst pipes and illegal connections among others.”
The municipality explained that the new system also allows for remote and local reading of the meter as well as detection of any tampering with the system.
“We came up with a programme that commissioned feasibility studies to check the technical aspect of the challenges experienced in relation to financial sustainability and we came to a conclusion that in order to deal with all the underlying challenges we first need to deal with the bulk infrastructure which is the replacement of AC pipes.
“At the same time we have to change all the meters with new technologies to address issues of human intervention (meter readers) and to improve the level of satisfaction to the consumers.”
The municipality added that the project will secure revenue losses for the city and bolster its financial position going forward.
“This will enable the municipality to free up resources that can be used to improve service delivery in other areas,” the municipality said.