South Africa
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Would you let ESKOM control your electricity METER?

It’s a rather outlandish question: Would you let Eskom control your electricity meter if it meant an end to load-shedding? Essentially, the grid comes under most pressure in the morning and evening when people are either getting ready or coming home from their day.

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If Eskom could control your electricity meter in high-use times, it would be able to regulate peak consumption and the stability of the grid. We’re perhaps too used to government-mandated bedtimes through load-shedding, but what about full control of your electricity meter? Ie. controlling your geyser and what appliances you can use …?


eskom control your electricity meter
Photo: DA

It’s no joke, according to Daily Investor, Eskom can remotely control household electricity consumption. The power utility already has a pilot program running in Fourways using what it calls ‘smart meters’.

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Smart meters and remote control are just some of the plans outlined by Eskom at its monthly briefing on how to lessen long-term load-shedding. Monde Bala, Eskom group executive for distribution, said the rollout of smart meters will ramp up in 2024. It wants to install a smart meter in every South African household, at the cost R16 billion over four years.


eskom control your electricity meter
Picture: File.

The proposed smart meters can reduce the current in a household from 60 amps to 10 amps. This will still allow the use of basic appliances like lights, TV and Wi-Fi router, but nothing else. In turn, the reduced load means other areas can remain on and functional.
However, energy-intensive appliances such as geysers, microwaves, and kettles are out.

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Eskom explained that households consume roughly 35% of Eskom’s power capacity during peak times. Out of peak times this falls to 16%. Half of this peak consumption is from geysers. So, Eskom essentiallys wants to control how much water we’re heating up.


eskom control your electricity meter
Photo: City of Ekurhuleni

The proposed Eskom smart meters will cost approximately R3 000 to install, which the power utility says will be recouped back in just five months.