Home » Industry » ZETDC Floats Tender for Smart Meters

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has started selling bid documents to private companies for the supply of smart metering equipment estimated to cost around $100 million.

Expectations are that the smart metering system will improve revenue generation amid reports that millions of dollars were being lost through theft and leakages on the prepaid meters.

Managing director Mr Julian Chinembiri confirmed yesterday that the tender had been aertised and interested companies were in the process of buying tender papers.

“The tender will close on January 20 next year. We are now doing the second phase of the new metering system the first was the prepaid meter system,” he said.

Initial estimates indicated ZETDC would require about $100 million to install the smart meters after realising the two-year-old prepaid meters were being tampered with.

Power utility Zesa Holdings’ transmission and distribution company has so far installed about 530 000 prepaid meters and will be moving to the next phase of the project.

ZETDC will also invest a significant amount of money into installing Meter Data Management System, a central computer system that communicates with smart meters.

Solarhart, Finmark and Nyamazela were the companies that had won the contracts to install the meters. China’s ZTE had its contract cancelled over faulty meters.

It is not yet known how Zesa will manage leakages of the already installed prepaid meters, which it has tried to circumvent by switching to the intelligent metering system.

Smart meters, however, cost a lot more than the prepaid meters and Zesa hopes to complete installation of the 800 000 units targeted under Zim-Asset programme.

Zim-Asset targets increasing access to power, raising output by an additional 300 megawatts by 2015. Strategies to achieve the targets include enhanced efficiency, demand side management and installation of statistical meters among others.

There has been public outrage about the administrative bungling at Zesa and its subsidiaries such as ZETDC on the manner the prepaid meter project was handled.

There have been reports of cronyism in the awarding of prepaid meter tenders, including to alleged incompetent individuals and companies without capacity to deliver on targets.

Allegations were also rife that some of the prepaid meters supplied and installed were faulty resulting in massive leakages that at one time saw revenue falling sharply.

Analysts said the flawed manner in which the prepaid metering project was handled pointed to management in adequacies that saw Zesa failing to collect its dues.

The power utility is failing to maintain transmission and distribution lines as well as generation infrastructure due to financial shortage yet consumers owe over $400 million.

Source : The Herald