Conference: African Utility Week
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Presenter: Izak van Gass
Abstract: Presented by Izak van Gass at African Utility Week

The primary objective of electricity metering is to collect revenue. Reported non-technical losses are in access of R5 billion per year. Customers should have a right to accurate and reliable metering and billing. Utilities should have a right to collect revenue. Legislation should be in place to enforce the collection of revenue.

Customers need to be educated on their rights and obligations as part of a payment for services strategy.  Key research findings support the following:

  • Metering technology and metering management is a key in improving customer service and payment levels.
  • A quick billing response time in terms of customer management is required. 
  • Revenue Collection Targets should be set for technical losses and non–technical losses which should be supported by the regulator.
  • Good CRM (Customer Relations Management) structures and systems should be in place.

Some of the reasons for non-technical losses include the following:

  • Poor customer service.
  • Inaccurate meter reading and billing systems.
  • Political interference.
  • Misunderstanding of the free basic electricity policy.
  • Quality of supply.
  • Differential tariffs.
  • Customers need to be educated on their rights and obligations as part of a payment for services strategy. 

Added Value and Metering

  • There should be added value to customers eg. Energy management, SMS and consumption monitoring.
  • Countries eg. UK, the European countries, Australia and North America have all legislated the implementation of smart meters in response to specific market drivers.
  • A national approach mandated and coordinated by Government and/or the Energy Regulator is required for metering deployment.
  • Ease of payment, customer convenience and improved customer service should be considered.

A holistic strategy in terms of metering management is required.