ZETDC upgrades pre-paid meters nationwide

ZIMBABWE Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has started upgrading pre-paid meters that are more than 30 years old.

The exercise will see all meters that were rolled out in 1993 being upgraded to meet the needs of the new system.

Speaking at the launch of the pre-paid meters upgrade in Harare yesterday, ZETDC acting managing director Mr Abel Gurupira said the upgrade will improve efficiency and use of electricity.

“It is ideally a situation where I would say the smart meters that we have involve a system that is within the institution and there is a meter which is at the client’s premises,” he said.

“The system is responsible for generating tokens when one makes a purchase or buys power they are given a token which they then key into the meter and that meter should be able to identify and decrypt that unique token. In 1993 that is when this system was developed, South Africa involved, and there were many other utilities that came on board so 1993 is the base year where the generation of these tokens began.

“We are coming to a time when the 30 years that were incorporated in this system is expiring and we are saying once we get to the 30 years, the meters will then not be able to identify the token that has been generated by our system and therefore will reject it. We are coming to a time where we have to reset giving the meter a new lease of life where the algorithms that are within the organisation’s system and those that are within the meter should be able to speak to each other.”

Mr Gurupira said the system at ZETDC and the meter at a consumer’s premises should be able to communicate for a meter to recharge electricity.

If we give out a token a meter should be able then to read the token and recharge the meter,” he said.

“If we do not do this, then the meter post the 30 years will not be able to recognise the token and will then reject that and people will not be able to vend. We are saying every meter that is part of this batch, because there are other meters that came post-2014 that are not involved, so the meters that we started with the system that have the software which dates back to 1993 are the ones involved.

“The other ones are not affected this time around so every meter, every client has to go and purchase a token because the system automatically generates two key codes that will be given, that a person has to punch in first and then the token later then the meter will be able to recognise.

‘‘Post that a person can now vend with a new lease of life.”

Mr Gurupira said if people do not recharge the two codes might not be able to vend because the meter has to speak to the system.


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