Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc. is deploying an additional 12,000 prepaid meters in response to an increasing demand from customers, writes Metering.com. The extra meters are costing GPL US$1.2m.
According to GPL chief executive officer Bharrat Dindyal, the meters sell themselves as a growing number of customers ask for their post-paid meters to be replaced with the pre-paid option.
The meters, supplied by GPL free of charge, feature a built-in alarm mechanism, an electricity duration indicator, and other services that update the customer on a timely basis. The high-tech device will also shut down permanently if tampered with.
The pre-paid meter deployment is in response to the country’s high level of electricity losses due to theft and tampering. To reduce the losses, GPL has devised a strategy which draws on both social and technological initiatives.
At present, over 1,000 cases of electricity theft and tampering against customers are pending in courts. The government had managed to decrease the losses by 31% but numbers are on the rise again, explains Metering.com
Mr Dindyal says that GPL has changed its tactic to a “softer approach” instead of relying solely on “old policing methods.” He says that the GPL will now be visiting communities and talking to residents directly.
However, GPL will continue to carry out raids in to areas where there is electricity theft. Customers who have been caught tampering with or disabling their meters will have to pay for replacement meters. GPL’s latest figures show that 2% of almost 20,000 meters have been tampered with, reports Demerara Waves.
The company is also in the process of designing a network which will make wholesale theft of electricity increasingly difficult.
Dindyal explains: “We continue to analyze all our options, but the current overall strategy would be based on heavy technological intervention in redesigning the networks and bringing to bear new metering technology.”
According to Dindyal, there is already proof that there is “far less interference” with the new pre-paid meters.
Not only will the new pre-paid meters reduce theft but consumers will now have the ability to manage their consumption better.
Countries like Brazil and South Africa, amongst others, also carry the financial burden of power theft and tampering of power equipment. Prepaid and smart meters will not only reduce tampering but will also improve energy efficiency as customers take more control over their consumption, thanks to the new technology.