Zimbabwe Leads The ‘Smart’ Pack

Zimbabwe has planned a smart grid strategy to 2018, with smart prepayment metering at its heart.
Published: Wed 24 Jun 2015

In an interview at African Utility Week 2015, Wilfred Shereni, senior manager at the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), discusses the company’s metering and smart grid strategy.

Prepay improves revenue collection and tamper detection

Shereni says that ZETDC has had a policy to introduce prepay meters to domestic customers, and these meters have proved very effective for revenue collection and tamper detection. The aim is to now introduce prepayment to the medium and large customers, with whom non-payment issues are also experienced. To this end a 60,000 smart meter deployment is planned, with a 10,000 meter pilot, which should be implemented by the end of the year.

We had initially envisaged rolling out 300,000 smart meters but when we relooked the business requirements, we realized we wouldn’t derive much value as the prepay is doing so well that there is no need to replace it at present,” Shereni explains.

Smart grid by 2018

Shereni says the implementation of smart metering for the larger customers will serve as a milestone towards the implementation of a smart grid as well as towards managing renewable energy.

“We aim to have a fully fledged smart grid by 2018,” says Shereni, adding that the company is starting with areas that add value now, including functions to enhance customer service delivery and revenue assurance.

“Currently about 60% of customers accounting for 40% of revenue are on prepay and we want to achieve 100% prepayment by 2018.”

Alongside the metering activities, ZETDC is involved in several renewable projects, including a 135MW project in Gwanda and a solar PV pilot in Mutare, and a net metering policy is also in place. “We are taking a calculated approach and we have the skills and experience,” says Shereni.