Smart meters very smart – City

A smart metre. Photo:


City of Johannesburg spokesperson, Nthatisi Modingoane, said smart meters are linked to computer systems and are also known as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and support automated meter reading (AMR). Modingoane said automated meter reading reports the exact amount of electricity used during a particular period, without requiring physical visits to properties by City Power technicians. “In this they contribute to billing accuracy, as consumption is monitored in real time and estimated readings will no longer be required,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the complainants is Democratic Alliance (DA) City of Johannesburg Caucus leader councillor Vasco Da Gama who said the installation of smart meters was causing havoc with electricity bills all across Johannesburg and must be stopped until a reputable authority can verify the devices and the process.

Da Gama said he had addressed community meetings over the past months in many parts of Johannesburg where residents complain about hugely inflated bills. He said engineers have advised the DA that a class action should be instituted against the city in view of the smart meter woes. Da Gama said, “These smart meters should have approval from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).”

He added that the badly installed, faulty smart meters emanated from a R1.25 billion contract awarded to a consortium led by Edison Power, controlled by Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, a friend and benefactor of President Jacob Zuma.

However, Modingoane said smart meters contribute to the stability of electricity supply, as they send an alarm as soon as power is lost or interrupted. He said this means unplanned power interruptions can be detected immediately, leading to quicker response and shorter power restoration times. Modingoane stated that alarms report any tampering or illegal activities and electricity losses can be monitored.

“All meters are SABS approved as per international regulated approval standards. Smart meters (like any other meter) adhere to the international IEC62053-21 specification which, internationally, governs the reading methodology and associated accuracy level… City Power has all the necessary approval certificates. A total of 92 884 meters have been installed,” he said.

Modingoane insisted that residents are billed as per their usage and that City Power has an agreement with an external, accredited meter test lab that can conduct meter accuracy verification tests.

Details: 087 022 0540.

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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