Avatar photo

By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

Prepaid electricity: City Power installs new smart meters – What you need to know

Technicians and contractors are hard at work replacing old prepaid meters with new smart meters equipped with 'smart, resident-focused technology'.

City Power is revamping its prepaid electricity voucher system, and technicians are in the process of replacing old (non-smart) meters with the latest (smart) meters in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

When the project was initially announced in 2021, Tshwane mayor Randall Williams said the new meters “are an exciting step towards realising the city’s adoption of smart, resident-focused technology”.

And no, residents cannot use their own contractors for the installation; City Power has contracted Voltex, Actom and Landis+Gyr.

City Power’s new smart meters

18 900 new prepaid meters

According to City Power, technicians and contractors in Johannesburg have over the past few days “been hard at work replacing post-paid and old prepaid meters with new prepaid ones”.

Councillor Michael Sun said to avoid a “last-minute scramble”, the meters will be replaced over the coming months to ensure residents “receive services when the new system kicks in” next year.

As per the current scope of the project, more than 18 900 new prepaid meters will be installed in six areas over the next three months:

  • 4 000 units will be installed in Fleurhof
  • 4 000 units will be installed in Pennyville
  • 4 000 units will be installed in Naturena
  • 5 752 units will be installed in Ennerdale
  • 700 units will be installed in Bramley
  • 700 units will be installed in Westdene

If you have an old meter starting with numbers 070 and 071, it will be replaced with new smart meters, with numbers starting 076 and 077, as per City Power spokesperson, Isaac Mangena.

Why new electricity meters?

The current prepaid system – known as the Standard Transfer System (STS) – has been in place for 30 years and uses unique tokens, referred to as TID, the Token Identifier.

The unique TID is a security measure put in place to ensure electricity tokens can only be used on the intended meter.

Once the new meters are implemented, old meters will stop accepting electricity credit tokens, and the current prepaid electricity voucher system will run out of voucher sequences by 24 November 2024.

New tokens won’t work on old meters

The newtokens won’t be recognised on meters installed since 1993, hence the project to convert all old meters to new smart meters.

City Power said any 24-digit tokens generated after the cut-off date will be rejected by the meters, thus it is vital for residents to cooperate with City Power officials who replace old meters.

Councillor Michael Sun reminds residents to “always ask City Power technicians to show you their appointment cards”.

The roll-out project works

City Power will send a notice to customers ahead of time, alerting them to the prepaid meter upgrade. Once you receive the notice, content the number provided within seven days.

Failure to respond within seven days “may result in the power utility terminating supply”, City Power’s Hloni Motloung warns.

A City Power official will arrive on the agreed date to replace the old meter with a new technology. He will have a vending book, and the new meter will be preloaded with 10 units.

Customers should buy additional units as soon as possible.

How to identify City Power technicians

All City Power contractors carry colour-coded identification cards which include the name of the employee, their ID number, and the department they report to.

In addition, the card will have an expiry date on a colour-coded strip. The strip also identifies the employee’s designation:

  • Blue cards: Permanent employees
  • Green cards: Meter readers
  • Purple cards: Contractors
  • Red cards: Cut-off teams
  • Black cards: Interns/temporary staff

Lastly, the cards contain a hologram of City Power’s firefly logo on the back of the card, along with Risk Control contact details.

“If the card has already expired, that card bearer is not authorised to work on the City Power network. No contractor is allowed to use another person’s ID card,” City Power said.

If you are unsure, contact Risk Control at 011 490 7900, 011 490 7911, or 011 490 7553 to verify the identity of a contractor.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits