The advent of smart metering technology holds the potential to improve the efficiency and performance of Africa’s under-strain power grids
Smart metering has become a means for utility companies to track energy demand and usage across their networks, which is essential especially in frail grid systems that are commonplace across Africa.
For households, smart metering has also been pitched as a way to gain greater transparency over consumption and tariffs. It is a technology that is increasingly proving its worth in a variety of African settings.
Most recently, Siemens was awarded a contract in Egypt for advanced control and metering infrastructure, including the supply of 300,000 smart meters, by Alexandria Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
AEDC serves Alexandria, a city of about five million inhabitants, which is in the process of upgrading its distribution infrastructure. The modernisation will benefit subscribers and companies, reducing complaints about bills and the cost of regular meter readings, as well as cases of theft and tampering with meters, according to Mohamed Shaker, Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy.
Smart metering technology is having a significant impact further to the south as well. Kenya Power is looking to increase the number of postpaid customers reading their meters from the current 145,000 to 200,000 during the current financial year, for example.
“Self-reading of meters will empower our postpaid customers to proactively engage with us on all matters that relate to billing for their electricity consumption,” said Geoffrey Muli, Kenya Power’s managing director. “It is targeted to enhance satisfaction among our customers through accurate and timely billing which will eliminate bill estimations and therefore reduce customer complaints.”