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eThekwini Municipality’s smart meter roll-out expected next month

The smart metering strategy would cater to both electricity and water metering requirements to avoid duplication of effort. This file picture shows a three-phase meter used to measure electricity consumption. Picture: Steve Lawrence/African News Agency (ANA)

The smart metering strategy would cater to both electricity and water metering requirements to avoid duplication of effort. This file picture shows a three-phase meter used to measure electricity consumption. Picture: Steve Lawrence/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 29, 2022

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Durban — The roll-out of smart water meters in the eThekwini Municipality is expected to begin next month.

The implementation of an advanced metering infrastructure solution comprising smart water and prepaid water meters was discussed at the eThekwini Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday. A report said the smart metering strategy would cater to both electricity and water metering requirements to avoid duplication of effort.

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The report stated that this would follow the International Water Association (lWA) best practice, with a view to reducing consumer over-consumption that would protect critical resources; ensure that revenue is realised upfront: improve the cost recovery by the municipality, and provide a payment vending platform for water sales.

The report stated that the evaluation for the potential service providers had been cloned, and was awaiting budget approval. It was regarded as a crucial project for the city. In preparation for the implementation phase, the water department is assisted by the electricity unit to develop the back-end systems in support of the water-smart metering infrastructure.

The report indicated this was the most crucial pathway for preparatory work prior to the actual roll-out of the infrastructure, as the supply and installation of metering devices comes last, once the back-end systems are in place.

The smart metering project will be implemented to leverage all automation capabilities beyond just prepaid to maximise existing infrastructure at the electricity unit, enabling a combined effort to cater for both water and electricity utilities.

DA Exco leader councillor Nicole Graham said there had been numerous attempts to install billing solutions, but they had not worked.

Meanwhile, the eThekwini municipal water department has asked for the transfer of funds amounting to R88 million within the water and sanitation capital budget from savings in the 2021/2022 financial year to fund expenditure incurred in the provision of water and sanitation services to human settlements and schools.

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A report before exco stated that the city was currently facing a challenge of unauthorised expenditure related to the refurbishment of communal ablution blocks in various wards of the municipality. The report said the expenditure was incurred for work done by various service providers working under the main contractor employed by the municipality during the 2019/2020 financial year.

Exco expressed concerns about the issue of unread water meters and the inability of customers to submit their meter readings due to a system failure, resulting in discrepancies on billing statements.

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