Johannesburg’s Prepaid Power Revolution: Smart Meter Overhaul Ignites Change

Published by
WIlliam Dube

The City of Johannesburg has announced a significant new initiative aimed at updating, repairing, and replacing obsolete, faulty, and bypassed prepaid electricity meters throughout the metropolitan area. This groundbreaking project is part of a broader plan by the Gauteng provincial government to address South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis with a R1.2 billion investment.

  1. The City of Johannesburg has launched a major initiative to replace obsolete, faulty, and bypassed prepaid electricity meters as part of the Token Identifiers (TID) rollover project, with the goal of enhancing security and preventing meter lockouts.
  2. This meter replacement program is part of a broader R1.2 billion plan by the Gauteng provincial government to address South Africa’s ongoing energy crisis, which includes investments in rooftop solar development and new metering systems.
  3. The cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane are committed to making smart metering the standard and ensuring a more sustainable, efficient, and secure energy future for their residents, with potential implications for other cities in South Africa and beyond.

City Power, Johannesburg’s power distributor, is spearheading the ambitious Token Identifiers (TID) rollover project, which seeks to replace the outdated meters at no cost to customers. The token identifier system is designed to enhance security by ensuring that a token can only be used once and is exclusively valid for the specific meter it was purchased for.

Isaac Mangena, City Power’s spokesperson, emphasized the importance of the TID compliance resetting project, which aims to prevent meters from being locked out when the digits for recharging tokens run out in November 2024. The city of Johannesburg warned that while the initial process is free, City Power will disconnect any customers found to have tampered with the newly installed meters or refused to reset the meter for TID compliance. Such customers will be subject to a reconnection fee as well as a recovery fee for the period of the loss.

The meter replacement program is set to begin in the following areas, with work scheduled to continue until June 30th:

  • Naturena
  • Ormonde View
  • Ormonde
  • Randburg

In the coming months, all seven regions of Johannesburg will undergo audits and have their meters normalized periodically. Mangena explained that this initiative will not only help City Power clean up its data but also ensure that unmetered customers, particularly in non-affluent areas, have access to smart meters. This will enable them to purchase electricity and aid City Power in monitoring and controlling the load as the city grapples with load shedding.

This transformative change in metering is being implemented alongside similar efforts in the City of Tshwane, as part of the R1.2 billion plan from the Gauteng provincial government. The allocated funds will be utilized to address the nation’s critical energy situation, with portions dedicated to rooftop solar development, new metering systems, and other energy-related projects.

While specific details regarding the new smart metering system and methods of tracking energy use have not been disclosed, both the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane have previously expressed their commitment to making smart metering the standard. The latter even plans to transition all customers to prepaid meters.

During the meter update or upgrade process, the city has requested residents to cooperate with officials. However, it has also advised residents to verify proof of appointment to confirm the authenticity of the officials. In order to prevent any misconduct by malicious actors, City Power has outlined that contractors working on meter replacements must have a valid card containing the following information:

  • The card bearer’s name and surname
  • The card bearer’s ID photo
  • An expiry date (if the card has already expired, that bearer is not authorized to work on the City Power network)
  • The name of the company contracted to City Power
  • No contractor can work with another person’s ID card
  • Green ID cards are designated for meter readers, while turquoise cards are for meter maintenance or installation

By providing these guidelines, City Power aims to ensure that only authorized personnel are granted access to customers’ properties, thereby maintaining the safety and security of the meter replacement process.

For additional information or inquiries, residents can contact the City Power contact center at 0860 56 2874 (select option 2).

This comprehensive meter replacement program in Johannesburg is a significant step forward in addressing the city’s energy challenges. By modernizing the metering infrastructure and moving towards smart metering systems, Johannesburg and Tshwane are laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, efficient, and secure energy future for their residents. This project has the potential to serve as a model for other cities in South Africa and beyond as they strive to adapt to the changing energy landscape and ensure a more reliable supply of electricity for their citizens.

WIlliam Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on

Published by
WIlliam Dube

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