Questions over smart meter plans

A software engineer based in the United States has questioned plans to introduce smart meters to curb the theft of electricity. Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Mr Tendekai Muchenje explained that the power utility did not need new hardware but simply needed to employ relatively cheap analytics software solutions to identify suspicious buying patterns since the meters were being manually tampered with. “An analytics dashboard would not be too difficult to create. The only issue is how deeply it would be allowed, in this case, by Zesa to read from their systems. You could have something integrated into the meters (a bit more involving) or you could just develop a dashboard which analyses buying trends and identifies anomalies which would then be passed on to loss control for investigation,” he explained to The Sunday Mail by email.

“The essential component of an analytics dashboard is its ability to analyse usage patterns. If an account in Mount Pleasant is buying US$20 of electricity when surrounding homes are using ten times that amount, the system would pick up on such anomalies and immediately alert loss control. In the same way, if an account had not purchased any electricity for an unreasonable amount of time this could be picked up by relatively simple algorithms. If people know that they will receive a visit from ZESA loss control they will probably choose not to cheat the system. It seems ZESA is trying to use a sledgehammer to open a nut. If loss control is their problem I don’t see why expensive smart meters would be necessary, there are simpler and cheaper solutions. Mr Muchenje runs a start-up, 6tm Solutions, in the United States; he was previously employed by Microsoft.

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  • Chiruzevha Chapera

    Educated fools in the Ministry of Energy! No wonder why the country is dead!

    • Jambanja paSalisbury

      Someone is about to hit a jackpot, murikurasika papi Mumbai ye round!

  • infairness

    It simply is a scheme to loot more public funds. The original was advertise as compulsory and in terms of legislation which was a lie.
    Because it was investigated they thought they could confuse the investigation with smart meters which means greater kickbacks.
    They make the excuse that people are bypassing the prepaid meters – people have bypassed meters, thet bypass load limit switches and they will by pass smart meters as well.
    Now there will be a worse problem as meter readers have been fired which means there is no monitoring – we had to fire them for senior staff to get the kickbacks from new lkmeters and to show layman a saving – there are no savings and the people will pay more and there will be no real price control any more as the new meters and top up cards may be altered at will.
    It simply a move by con artists to steal…

  • ad zoo

    All they want is to make money,instead they should refurbish harare power station so that it runs to its highest capacity. no wonder why zim’s economy is bleeding.

  • sharap

    simple and straight forward! @muchenje