Zesa Guns for The Expensive Smart Meters

Zesa wants to install 800 000 metres by year end and has so far connected about 375 000 on the pre-paid system. However, due to circumvention of pre-paid meters, which is prejudicing the power utility of a reported us$10 million monthly, the ministry had proposed ‘to go smart’

smart meterBy Tongai Mwenje

It stated that the move is a financial gobbling machine as it can chew close to us$350 million for 800 000 customers against us$90 million for a pre-metering project for the same number of customers. Report from the Sunday mail say that the smart metering project hangs in the balance due to the huge volumes of capital required to complete the project.

The billionaire dollar question now is; why is the parastatal opting for such an expensive project? The government parastatals of late have been involved in shocking salary scandals; can this be a plan to compensate the lost chunk through the salary reduction campaign? I have talked about the price that becomes with the smart metering, but before we dig into previouses and pasts, we also need to look and focus on the advantages of the system against the value that comes with it.

The smart system is said to be a solution capable of curbing electricity theft and increase revenue and efficient energy management. According to technology experts, the gadgets could reduce load shedding but without increasing the current power generation capacity.

smart meter

Researches have shown that, one of the main advantages of the smart meter grid system is that it comes with Meter Data Management, a central system that enables remote communication with installed smart metres spread across the country. This shows that the system can support detection and real time reporting of a minimum tamper and fraud modes.


The product is also equipped with software that allows the power utility to limit clients to smaller appliances such as lights, televisions and radio sets. I quoted a statement from The Sunday Mail which was said by the World Managing Director Mr Ben Mavedzenge, ‘The technology enables ZESA to determine the amount of electricity it wants to give to people, for instance, it can choose to give the amount of electricity which only works on smaller appliances. If the customer decides to connect heavier appliances, it will be automatically disconnected.’

This means instead there will not be a complete black out during load shedding, customers can at least have lights and entertainment, which to me it’s worth the value that comes with the product.

I am entitled to give my personal opinion, what’s your take?


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