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19 September 2012

 

Prepay your way to environmental efficiency

In a story on esi-africa.com titled South Africa: Eskom and SA Government responsible for threatening water crisis it comments: "A water crisis is looming in South Africa, communities are at risk of losing access to water, and coal is right in the middle of it, according to a report released by Greenpeace.” And that "South Africa is projected to experience a 17% gap between water supply and demand by 2030, but new mega coal-fired power stations (Medupi and Kusile) are being built by the national utility Eskom without a clear view of what the water impacts are likely to be.” Also, Wikipedia states that "according to the Second UN World Water Development Report, if present levels of water consumption continue, two-thirds of the global population will live in areas of water stress by 2025.”

As a human race one of our major concerns is to save our planet and it has become common knowledge that saving energy and water are two priorities. So, while most of us are aware of the more popular ways to do this – change to energy saving globes, switch off lights, unplug appliances, power up via solar panels, use less water and recycle used water – there is even more that we can do, some less obvious, providing smart ways to become more water and energy efficient.

Wikipedia also maintains that "it is frequently argued that effective energy conservation requires more informing consumers about energy consumption, for example through smart meters at home or ecolabels while shopping. People need practical and tailored advice how to reduce energy consumption in order to make change easy and lasting.” So, while prepaying for your utilities may incite controversial feelings, at the end of the day when we purchase our services in advance we tend to use them more sparingly. "It makes consumers more aware of how much they use and the amount that they subsequently waste,” remarks Ryan Rudman from PrepaidMeters.co.za, an online utilities management services company supplying sub meters to Sectional Title Body Corporates, Private Landlords, Private and Corporate Building Owners (commercial and residential), Mines, Farms, Sporting Facilities and Municipalities.

In fact, consumers generally find that once they have changed over to the prepaid system, they begin to realise that leaving on appliances, such as their television, or forgetting to switch off lights when they don’t need to be on all contribute to higher costs and by simply managing their usage they save money and ultimately use less energy and/or water, contributing to the conservation of our planet.

With PrepaidMeter.co.za’s system you are able to check your consumption whenever the need arises, and view how much was used within the last 24 hours to over a period of a time. "This function benefits our customers when they want to measure their usage while being energy and water efficient, as well as budgeting for the month,” says Karen Wheller COO of PrepaidMeters.co.za.

PrepaidMeters.co.za water metering system goes even further than providing a convenient way for us to control our own water usage; it also has a function which shuts off the valve after three hours of continuous running. "Basically our system detects this as a leak and shuts off the valve. This function not only gives consumers an early warning to water wastage, which is wasteful and costly, but also to possible damage to the rest of their property if there is a leak,” Ryan explains.

So, while prepaid meters provide a means to controlling costs and managing utilities more efficiently, it also defines the way we contribute to energy and water efficiency.

 

Smart Move to Utility Metering

Simply put Smart Meters (AMI) provides the ability to remotely read meters at any interval required. It also means that the data is more reliable and more accurate bills can be produced. While currently in its testing phase, smart metering is the way of the future and is closer than we think since it has been gazetted that all meters will be smart meters by 2013.

This metering system will be used to measure electricity, water and gas usage which will make consumers more aware of how much they are using and therefore provide them with the control over their usage.

Currently, STS Meters are successfully being used in both municipal and sub-metering applications but with one small setback, it only works with the pre-paid billing system via a 20 digit token to load the purchased utility. However, Smart Meters works with both pre-paid and post-paid billing. "For the first time, true cost-effective, mixed billing in Sectional Title Schemes is made possible by Smart Metering technologies.”, says Sean Wheller, CEO.

PrepaidMeters.co.za is the first company in South Africa to supply Smart Meters to the South African sub-meter market. It’s not surprising either since PrepaidMeters.co.za has always had the edge on its competitors with its technologically advanced systems and industry expertise. PrepaidMeters.co.za has been supplying online utility management via pre-paid sub-metering to Sectional Title Body Corporates, Private Landlords, Private and Corporate Building Owners (commercial and residential), Mines, Farms, Sporting Facilities and Municipalities for over a decade now. "Sub-metering is one of the more complex metering industries, having to reconcile on a continuous basis with bulk supply bills, readings requires constant innovation and adoption of technologies to make billing more accurate as well as the collection of revenue for payment of the bulk supply.”, says Sean Wheller, CEO.

Smart Meters brings a newer more advanced technology to the utilities market. These meters communicate bi-directionally to a data concentrator and servers. In other words, this means that for prepaid customers the 20 digit token it is no longer required to input the purchased utility because with Smart Meters the communication between the devices can pick up the purchase of a utility without having to tell the meter to load it. This makes consumers purchases easier as well. That said a Smart Meter can work both with, or without tokens. AMI technology further enables post-payment as well as pre-payment, immediate tamper alerts, load management, ToU (time of use) tariffs and much more. When all is said and done, Smart Meters is a great advantage in comparison with STS which is an exclusive prepayment technology.