FOURTEEN companies have submitted bids to supply smart meters for the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company smart metering project, spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said yesterday. The smart metering tender was divided into two separate tenders — for smart meters and for the platform — the meter data management system.The tender for smart meters closed on June 14, 2016 and evaluation is expected to be completed by end of next month. The deployment of meters is expected in the first quarter of next year.
The tender for the platform is scheduled to close this month and the contract will be awarded before year end.
Under the project, the ZETDC intends to deploy 40 000 smart meters for medium and large consumers where the current prepayment metering technology cannot be deployed because of technological limitations.
“The key driver for deployment of smart meters is revenue assurance, energy efficiency and management of distributed renewable energy,” said Mr Gwasira.
ZETDC, the subsidiary of Zesa Holdings has made a decision to migrate to smart metering technology following recommendations by a local audit and accounting firm.
Mr Gwasira said the decision by ZETDC to go smart metering was in line with the metering road map recommended by the firm.
“Smart metering project is a game changer for ZETDC as it will change the way business is done by the power utility,” said Mr Gwasira.
He added that there was a lot of due diligence that had to be performed before tendering.
“There are pertinent issues beyond functionality that must be taken into consideration
when making decision to migrate to smart metering.
“Choice of technology is key to success of project.”
ZETDC engineers had to carefully deal with uncertainties in the smart metering technology and adopt a design that avoids pitfalls. Interoperability and robust telecommunications are among the key technical issues to be considered,” said Mr Gwasira.
The scope of the smart metering project includes acquisition of a Meter Data Management System, Head End system, and deployment of 40 000 smart meters and provision of the communication media.
Phase one of the smart metering project comprises 4 000 meters and the plan is to select four different meter manufacturers so that there is diversification of technology to avoid technological risk.
The strategic goals to be addressed by migrating to smart metering include financial turnaround, migration of large power users to prepayment, loss reduction and efficient utilization of energy and management of distributed energy generation.