Johannesburg’s City Power utility is sending hundreds of yellow bib-wearing agents to your homes to install new smart meters, as it strives to meet a deadline to replace all old prepaid electricity meters by November next year.
Users of old technology powered prepaid electricity meters will not be able to load electricity tokens or vouchers. Their meters are being changed, free of charge, by new age smart meters which allow City Power to limit-load remotely, which assists the city in times of a strained energy grid.
Members of the Johannesburg community in areas such as Hype Park, Lenasia, Johannesburg South and Roodepoort have been warned of authorised City Power agents who will be seeking entry into their homes to replace prepaid electricity meters for free of charge.
The agents will be dressed in yellow bibs as indicated in the picture.
Joburg City Power said it was changing the meters as most of those in people's households were not smart meters and required the Token ID (TID) to be reset to remain compliant.
They said the old technology would stop working from November 24 next year, and customers would not be able to load electricity on it.
“Most of the meters are not smart meters and the TID resetting entails that every non-smart meter should be replaced with the new technology meters and reset to be TID compliant,” City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena explained.
“All pre-paid meters based on the old technology will stop dispensing electricity on November 24, 2024, as the credit token will run out of available numbers unless they are reset.
“The customers that have already bought electricity units when the meters get changed will be carried over according to the units found on the meter,” said Mangena.
The agents will be required to enter the homes of Joburg residents to conduct their work, which may pose a safety and security threat for homeowners.
City Power has provided key identifiable metrics which will help residents identify a legitimate agent.
They said the approved agents would be wearing a branded yellow TID-branded bib or T-shirt, they would carry valid ID cards with their ID photo, name and surname, and expiry date.
“We appeal to residents for cooperation and to allow our officials to gain access to their properties during the implementation of this task,” said Mangena.
He said residents would also be able to call the City Power call centre and verify the identity of a agent before allowing them into the property.
“City Power is aware of the growing trend among criminals using counterfeit meter reading credentials to gain entry into residential homes and rob unsuspecting customers.
“Customers may verify the TID agents' credentials by calling the number reflected on their branded bibs or valid ID cards.
“Customers are strongly urged not to pay anyone for TID meter resetting during this task,” said Mangena.
In the Hyde Park area, the agents are expected to be active in the Hyde Park, Dunkeld and Victory Park area between Monday and Tuesday.
Another round of prepaid meter replacements will take place between October 2 and 18, in suburbs such as Westcliff, Saxonwold, Craighall, Parktown, Parktown North, Parkhurst, Berario, Albertville and Risidale.
In the Lenasia area, the agents are expected to replace meters all week in Ennerdale Extension 2, 3, 5, 12 and 14.
In the Johannesburg South area, agents are expected in suburbs such as Mondeor, Ridgeway, Robertsham, Kibler Park, Mayfield Park, Aspen Hills until Friday.
In the Roodepoort area, agents are expected in suburbs such as Wilropark, Radiokop, Ruimsig, Amorosa until Friday.
Meanwhile, the new smart meters will be able to help the power utility in managing the energy crisis as they are able to be equipped with remote load-limiting functions and ultimately contribute to the management and reduction of load shedding.
In May, City Power demonstrated how they would be able to remotely stop all households within a specific region from using their geysers, for instance.
“With these gadgets, City Power will be able to do load limiting every time Eskom demands some megawatts, or when consumption reaches critical levels.
“As a result, this programme will ensure unmetered customers, especially in non-affluent areas, have smart meters, which will enable City Power to monitor and control the load as we battle with load shedding.
“City Power smart meters are designed to facilitate bi-directional communication that enables better remote communication with our customers,” said Mangena.