By A Correspondent- Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has launched its first smart meters, a modern innovation meant to improve the electrical supply chain.
According to TechZim, the first Installation of these smart meters was done in Harare Polytechnic College and more rollouts are yet to follow according to ZETDC Commercial Director Engineer Katsande. The first rollout of these smart meters already started in Harare has a target of 2500 clients.
ZETDC stands to benefit a lot from these smart meters as they are an extension of ZETDC’s power monitoring and control system. All aspects of power being consumed at a customer’s site are visible to ZETDC. This data is then used to manage the grid more precisely.
In an article posted by Tech Zim, these smart meters have a more precise grid control, “So in the event of load shedding, they will be switching off a blanket area when they could have maybe switched off a few individuals.
With the meters on the customer premises being smart, it can allow ZETDC to execute load shedding for specific loads. So ZETDC can remotely switch off loads like air conditioning and geysers for a premise remotely and still provide power for more business-critical operations.”
Again these smart meters are reported to smarter power grids than the previous meters.
“Managing the grid is also made easier. Currently, ZETDC can manage the grid to the feeder level which is not really an efficient way to do so. With smart meters, the grid will get to a point where it can manage itself based on the load characteristics of the grid at any point in time.
The objective is to maintain a high level of uptime which is what smart grids enable. Beyond just the consumer side of the grid, smart grids enable multiple sources of power to be efficiently plugged into the grid.
That is if a solar farm exists, it will be utilized by the grid during the day and supplemented by thermal power stations. On overcast days, the grid will rely more on thermal and hydropower sources and it does this via software,” reports Tech Zim.
The project of rolling out these meters is reported to cost US$35 million and will be done in phases with a planned 12 770 meters to be installed. As stated the minimum capacity of these meters will be 200kVA which limits access to medium and large institutions.