The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) on Tuesday, 17 January, launched a US$35 million prepaid and smart metering roll-out programme at Harare Polytechnic College.
ZETDC acting managing director Ralph Katsande said the programme will be rolled out in residential areas and farming communities. Said Katsande:
It is therefore imperative that these points be migrated to the prepaid metering platform without delay and as such ZETDC has resumed prepaid meter installations starting with residential clients and small business units.
ZETDC, the power transmission unit of ZESA Holdings, is owed approximately $42 billion by customers who are still using post-paid metres.
The prepaid and smart metering roll-out programme is aimed at curbing payments default by major electricity consumers.
The power utility says prepaid and smart meters have the potential to lower the utility’s operational costs by between 55 and 60 percent.
Since 2012, when ZETDC introduced the first-ever pre-paid platform, it has moved 751 000 consumers to the prepaid platform mainly small business points and domestic customers while 103 000 points remain on the post-paid and load limit platform.
ZESA stakeholder relations manager, George Manyaya, said smart meters will be extended to large and medium power consumers. He said:
We are introducing this concept to our consumers especially those who use the bulk of electricity.
This is all to address the security of electricity supply as well as to make the utility more customer-centric.
As ZETDC we are now able to boost our revenue collection, as we seek to deploy and recapitalize our operations.
Efficient revenue collection will ensure that we have money to fund other operations, including the purchase of vehicles that attend to faults, buying fault locators so that we capitalise our business.