Utility firm Kenya Power has invested hundreds of millions in the installation of outdoor meters in a bid to enhance revenue collection from large power consumers.
The programme will install 5,600 outdoor smart meters outside the premises of key customers to allow for inspection of nearby in-house smart meters without accessing the consumer’s premises. Large power consumers account for about 55 per cent of Kenya Power’s revenue.
Smart meters support two-way communication between Kenya Power and the meters making it possible to carry out real time monitoring of energy consumption remotely where any anomalies or tampering will be promptly detected and acted upon.
Shareholders of Kenya Power are losing over Sh17 billion in sales due to a combination of power theft and leakages from the ageing transmission grid.
Acting general manager for Customer Service Engineer Rosemary Oduor said that outdoor metering was aimed at reducing operational costs where meters will be read remotely and consequently enhance revenue collection from electricity sales. She further added that metering would also be spread to all users in the near future thereby enabling Kenya Power easy access to a customer’s consumption as well as access payments’ schedule real-time.
The outdoor metering project will enhance security at all premises whereby smart meters will be installed atop a pole outside the premises enabling Kenya Power staff to read and inspect the meter without disturbing the customers. The outdoor meters are expected to help phase out the in-premise meters in future. Already, nearly 80 per cent of large power consumers have been connected to outdoor meters as Kenya Power moves to deepen use of technology to enhance efficiency.
“With the technology, it is also possible to read meters remotely, disconnect and reconnect remotely in the event of non-payment, reducing the need for sending technicians to site,” said engineer Oduor.
The company is spending an estimated Sh3.2 billion for the installation of both in-house and outdoor meters across the country.