The technology can thus help Eskom with its financial situation as well as municipalities. Photo: Bloomberg

JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) hopes its EU-funded smart grids programme which is in its pilot phase would assist Eskom and municipalities to better collect revenues due to them.

Sanedi said the aim and intention of these pilot projects was to demonstrate the value proposition of smart grid within each priority area and also allow them to understand the business case and implementation lessons learnt.  

The revenue enhancement pilot is being undertaken in the Nala, Naledi, Govan Mbeki, Thabazimbi Mogale City municipalities.

Lethabo Manamela, the chief financial officer at Sanedi, said the benefits of the pilot project were wide-ranging and would assist the economy.

“One of the major benefits of the pilot was that municipalities are now able to recover their revenue and can reduce their debt to Eskom,” Manamela said.

“The technology can thus help Eskom with its financial situation as well as municipalities.”

Eskom and municipalities lose an estimated R7.5 billion each year due to electricity theft.

Data from ABI Research showed that Africa was beginning to leap on to the smart metering bandwagon. 

Figures show that smart meter shipments to the Africa/Middle East region are predicted to grow at a compound annual rate of 36.6 percent between 2011 and 2022. 

Revenues of companies involved in smart metering are set to grow by an equivalent 35.4 percent over the same period. 

Sherry Zameer, senior vice-president Internet of Things for Cismea region at Gemalto, said it was clear that the smart meter market was set to grow significantly across Africa in the near term. 

“Smart metering systems also open up opportunities for better management of the demand and supply of energy. Utilities can track energy which is stored and available for purchase for other players who are in demand,” Zameer said. 

Sanedi, which accounts to the Department of Energy, recently received a clean audit for the second year in a row. 

Thembakazi Mali, interim chief at Sanedi, said he was happy that their sound governance and financial protocols had led to a clean audit. 

“Sanedi’s activities contribute to all of society, across the entire energy landscape, through cleaner fossil fuels, smart grids, cleaner mobility, data and knowledge management…” said Mali. 

Sanedi also said that it wanted to see more electric vehicles on South African roads.  

Tebogo Snyer, the project manager at Sanedi said technology advancement would help reduce the high costs of electric cars. 

“There are a few things we have to do before the uptake of electric vehicles increases. We have to first bring the prices down, and second, we need to try to increase the range for the charging of the vehicle,” Snyer said.

A conference on electric vehicles will be held next month.