In an attempt to bridle some of the everyday demand-side problems, many consumers turn to smart metering.

Booming power demand

How to balance supply and demand

Represented by the last letter in the awe inspiring BRICS-acronym, South Africa has earned itself a place among the world’s booming economies. However, this prominent place is being followed by consequential increased energy demand, which stresses energy production heavily. The challenges are numerous and well-known: An expansion of coal fired power plants in an attempt to comply with the demand results in a less flattering position among the world’s largest carbon emitters.

And implementations of renewable energy sources entail an unpredictable, though climate friendly, energy.

Alternatively, energy demand must decrease in order to balance production. But the measures hitherto deployed are as annoying as they are inefficient: staggering price raises, controlled blackouts and energy buybacks.

And then the widespread energy thefts as a result of the country’s social and economic inequalities have yet to be mentioned. Energy thefts not only affects the energy supplier’s revenue, it also damages the whole production planning.

“If you don’t measure, you don’t know, and eventually you are not able to act purposefully.”

CEO of Livewire Engineering and Consulting, Attie van Jaarsveldt

Fair billing

How to turn a budget deficit into a budget plus with smart metering

Not only do smart meters have tamper protection, through close monitoring of the consumption pattern they provide a detailed consumption overview with exact peaks and lows in 30 minutes intervals or even higher resolution. The exact load profiles enable accurate estimates of power consumption and therefore secure a correct and fair billing.

In South Africa, Kamstrup has in cooperation with local partner companies rolled out

a couple of light version smart grids to handle local supply challenges.

An early smart metering project in the city of Potchefstroom helped local resellers turn a budget deficit of 40,000 Rand into a plus of 15,000 Rand. Simply because smart metering is able to draw a detailed consumption map, which makes it possible to estimate consumption accurately and to determine appropriate tariffs.

Also, at a school in Mbombela (Nelspruit), intelligent submetering of electrical installations has enhanced visibility of consumed energy, resulting in substantial savings. Consequently, increased focus has been put on finding more economic alternatives to energy-guzzling installations. A number of manifest advantages were displayed both for consumers and suppliers: energy awareness were strengthened; and precise consumer profiles enabled correct billing which in turn led to automatic savings.

Stabilizing power supply through local smart grid

At the Rand Aid Retirement Village in Modderfontain, Johannesburg, a stable power supply has been secured through efficient demand side management.

The Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI) deployed by the engineering companies Livewire, Station7 and Kamstrup enables the customer to view 30-minute energy profiles per residence unit or per group of residences in ranking format. This is the first step towards a local smart grid as the stable flow of information from the customer’s residential meters results in a stabilized energy supply and a transparent energy bill.

The secret lies in a proper demand side management.

Cost reduction the smart way

Full smart metering deployment in Lephalale

In the town Lephalale with a population about 18,000 the residents will soon get the chance of bringing down their electricity costs in a smarter and more comfortable way than hitherto.

The residents will be able to choose between pre-payment and a post-paid system, they can buy electricity via their cell phones, and they can monitor their usage on a daily basis.

Municipal manager at the Lephalale municipality, Bob Naidoo, explains: "We believe that by knowing how much is spent on electricity on a daily basis, residents will use electricity sparingly. What helps us as a municipality is the fact that illegal connections will instantly be picked up on the system."

Together with Nuri Telecom and SPASA (Spatial Planning Agency of Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd) Kamstrup has deployed the complete smart metering system in the town of Lephalale, where people will now enjoy a more stable power supply.

The smart metering product portfolio of both electricity and water has proven its relevance in South Africa. By closely collaborating with local companies and business partners, Kamstrup has achieved convincing results and are dedicated to pursuing further collaborations. Kamstrup's permanent presence in Pretoria facilitates an even closer cooperation with the local partners. With full dedication to the market and visions for the future, Kamstrup is confident to make a difference for a more sustainable South Africa and a better life for all.

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