Tshwane contravential smart meter box. File picture: Masi Losi/ANA Archives
ALL 12 900 electricity smart meters installed as part of the invalid deal between the former ANC-led City of Tshwane administration and Peu Capital Partners will be removed.

In the process, consumers - mostly residential estates in Pretoria’s eastern suburbs - who are on the meters have been assured there would be no interruption of electricity supply.

This came after yesterday’s ruling in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that the City replace the smart meters with its own. MMC for Corporate Services Cilliers Brink hailed the court outcome as a victory for ratepayers and a clean administration. “We finally had the opportunity to extricate ourselves from the contract, and over time, we will take the Peu meters off one by one and replace them with our meters,” he said.

He said money paid to Peu every month in terms of the agreement would be reduced as the City began the removal process. “We will be rid of them and of this contract. We will be able to deliver electricity at a significantly lower rate to ensure value for ratepayers’ money.”

In October last year, the court nullified the contract signed between the City and the service provider entered into in 2013. Sitting yesterday, the court aimed to determine a just and equitable remedy to the invalid contract.

Part of the remedy related to whether the City wanted to acquire the smart meter infrastructure from Peu or not.

The City opted not to acquire the Peu meters and its metering systems, but instead procure and install its own meters and systems over four months.

“As meters belonging to Peu are removed and replaced, so commission payable on electricity vended through these meters will be reduced,” Brink said.

Those implicated in the unlawful awarding of the contract were not off the hook. “We have been contacted by the Hawks and we have a standing investigation. Tshwane's political leadership will give the Hawks all the co-operation if fraud is discovered, the criminal probe must follow if anybody benefited fraudulently from this contract.”

The court application was initially lodged by Sakeliga, previously known as AfriBusiness, a division of AfriForum. Armand Greyling, law and policy analyst at Sakeliga, said: “We are satisfied that after five years of litigation this matter has been concluded.”

He hailed the court outcome as a victory for the people of the city.