Ecobank offers $120m for ZETDC meters

US-DollarsSifelani Tsiko Senior Writer
Ecobank is willing to provide US$120 million to fund a national roll-out of smart meters by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company through a local independent energy solutions company.In a document seen by The Herald, the bank said it could fund importation, installation and national rollout of smart meters through Connect the World, a Harare-based company.

“We look forward to fruitful co-operation on this project of national importance and significance, hence our desire to support it financially,” the bank said.

Zesa Holdings – ZETDC’s parent company – has said it will cost more than US$100 million to install 300 000 smart meter units to curb huge losses it was making as a result of the glaring weakness of the prepaid metering system.

Consumers are reeling as a result of an inefficient electricity billing system, while Zesa has cited massive leaks via pre-paid meter units which have seen more than 4 000 properties in Harare using electricity for free as they by-pass the meter or tamper with it in other ways. Connect the World managing director expert Mr Ben Mavedzenge said, “The smart programme is an essential one and funding support from Ecobank provides ZETDC some financial relief.

Mr Mavedzenge said US$120 million was enough for 500 000 smart meters.

A smart meter automatically takes electricity usage readings and transmits these to the energy supplier.


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  • Tendai

    It is good that “Ecobank is willing to provide US$120 million to fund a national roll-out
    of smart meters by the ZETDC..”. On what terms will this be and what will be the cost to the consumers?

  • Gangsta!!!!

    Let Ecobank fund powere generation projects!!! What matters is, is there a need for those smart meters first just after installing prepaid meters which have even worked for more than a year. How can an organisation buy capital equipment and dispose of it within a year. If we are saying installing prepaid meters was a mistake then, heads must roll first at ZESA and Ministry prior to committing further resources to the same cause. There seems to be a serious collusion between ZESA and Ministry of Energy officials to dupe the state and the public into justifying the need for a new project. Its not a secret that procurement is the easiest way to fleece an organisation. Zesa has been silent on the capabilities of the prepaid meter system they have in place in order to justify the need for another metering project.

    To achieve smart metering, what is required is communication between the meter and the back office management system. With the current prepaid meter installed by Zesa smart functions can be achieved if the following components are available:

    1) Meter Management System(prepaid vending, billing, meter management, etc) – software and the servers
    2) Data Concentrator – to be installed at substations
    3) Meters

    Currently the meters have been installed as per the contracts signed with the contractors, if Zesa wants smart functionality all they have to do is install Data concentrators and the management software. Interfaces between Zesa’s current billing systems and the meter management systems can be easily developed for a fee of course. These systems are currently being used in China from the same manufacturer that supplied the current meters to Zesa.

    Prepayment metering have almost the same capabilities as the so called “smart meters”. the following functions are possible:

    1) Two way communication between the meter and the back office
    2) Smart Vending(remote token loading)
    3) Automatic Meter Reading(AMR)
    4) Anti-temper (automatic meter temper protection)
    5) Phase imbalance
    6) Load curtailment(limiting load, without total disconnection)
    7) Short messaging(messages can be sent to consumers from Zesa on their CIU’s)
    8) Tarrif setting(fixed, TOU,
    9) Remote disconnection


    Nyika yakuparadzwa takatarira!!!

  • tirori

    @Gansta. you are misleading the people. Zesa is not phasing out those new prepaid meters and replacing them with new type. infact the meters were supose to be sourced in two types for different customers, with the first type having already been installed but not yet completed. The other type (smart meters) has not yet been purchased to instal on the remaining customers. Zesa knows how they operate much more than you do.

    • Gangsta!!!!

      Zesa came out through their spokesperson on this report saying they have only one smart metering expert, who we know was running a smart metering project in Botswana that ran into problems and was not finalised. So you cannot therefore claim Zesa knows more on smart metering yet their only expert’s previous project was not successful! The focus now should be on securing revenue through prepayment and increasing generation capabilities! Let there be power, then we use it efficiently at cost! Why are we all focussing on low hanging fruits…..engineers, bankers etc? Is it because we cant plan beyond a year as Botha once said of Blacks? How can a whole organisation focus on billing power that is not available? Pliz Zesa also look at the return on investment, a ‘Rolls Royce’ billing system for such a small grid, you guys are just mere jokers.

  • chiko

    120 million can build 2 massive power stations enough power 1 third of our power needs. So why not use that money to generate power and not waste on meters not used in countries which have the ability to generate adequate power to meet their demand. Please lets be serious. Our problem is inability to generate power and need to focus on that first. Let people have prepaid ,ethers and have physical checks to check for people by passing the meters. These smart meters can still be by passed. Really stupid ideas by clueless people.

  • barushnikov

    Please install them as fast as u can ….as we are paying for energy leaks ….by the way what about the free zesa that some people are recieving even years after leaving zesa or have died ……look into that