Smart Metering Systems to Change the Dynamics of Electricity Metering in South Africa: Frost & Sullivan

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The electricity metering market in South Africa is facing a period of significant change due to the implementation of smart metering systems. This is being driven by demand-side management initiatives and supporting government legislation, brought about by the national energy crisis.

“Smart meters will allow for the implementation of time-of-use tariffs and remote disconnection of household appliances through two-way communication capabilities with utilities,” explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Ross Bruton. “This is expected to assist in decreasing peak demand in the country, thereby mitigating the current strain on Eskom’s spare capacity.”

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, South African Electricity Metering Market, finds that the market earned revenues of over $14.7 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $50.5 million by 2014. The smart meter market in South Africa will be experiencing substantial growth in the next few years through the replacement and conversion of obsolete credit and prepaid meter technologies. The end users covered in this analysis are residential, commercial, and industrial.

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail to Patrick Cairns, Corporate Communications, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country.

“Smart meters represent the future of electricity metering in South Africa,” says Bruton. “The Electricity Regulations Act of 2006 specifies that all end-users with a monthly usage of 1000 kWh or more need to be on smart metering systems by January 2012. Smart meter implementation in the country is expected to represent substantial revenue growth in the electricity meter market, as each smart meter unit is significantly more expensive than traditional credit and prepaid meters.”

Although this Act is currently under review, the final document is expected to have a similar requirement. Eskom and regional municipalities are therefore legally committed to commence with the introduction of smart meter systems over the next few years.

However, although smart meter rollouts are expected to be governed by government legislation, the electricity distributors – particularly municipalities – have raised concerns on the available funds to implement these initiatives due to the high equipment cost of smart meter units and supporting communication infrastructure that will be needed to operate the smart grid.

“Furthermore, smart meter specifications set out in the NRS 049 document, for national standardisation of the meters, are still unavailable, restraining electricity distributors from beginning the sourcing of smart metering systems,” explains Bruton. “Growth in the smart meter market will also be limited by the availability of funds to electricity distributors.”

Several electricity distributors are likely to turn to the government for financial aid for the smart meter rollout implementation.

“Suppliers should aim to provide NRS 049 compatible meters to electricity distributors at the most affordable price possible, while continuing to offer after-sales support in product maintenance, repair, and training,” concludes Bruton. “Such suppliers will be sought after by the electricity distributors.”

South African Electricity Metering Market is part of the Energy & Power Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: The South African Boiler Market, Electricity Industries in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Equatorial Guinea, The Sub-Saharan Africa Large Diesel Generation Markets, Asian Influence in the African Electricity Market, African Large Scale Wind Turbine Market, Gas Turbines Markets in Sub Saharan Africa, Key African Power Plant Service Markets, and Mozambican Electricity Industry. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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