Cape Town, South Africa — (METERING.COM) — May 15, 2013 – Whether all customers in Africa should get smart metering is an open question, with African Utility Week delegates participating in the metering track fairly evenly divided between for and against.
However, there was overwhelming support for smart metering for C&I customers, and almost all rejected the view that smart metering was not appropriate for their business.
This polling followed a debate in which the business cases ‘for’ and ‘against’ smart metering were clearly made, with issues such as the absence of a communications backbone, lack of standards and interoperability, and no cohesive strategy or framework topping the ‘no’s’.
“If I go to the investment committee they will ask me what smart metering is going to cost and whether there is a business case,” said one. “We’re not ready yet.”
On the other hand the ‘yes’s’ highlighted the need to modernize the ageing infrastructure and to deploy smart metering in the broader context of smart grid to get the most benefits.
“One can either be a technology leader or a follower,” said another panelist, adding that an integrated approach is needed.
Nevertheless, and despite the opposing views on the issue, delegates were overwhelmingly of the view that smart meters would change the way they do business for the better – indicating that it is rather a case of ‘when’ than ‘if’ there will be more widespread deployment of smart metering in Africa.