Is it possible to go back to Tshawne postpaid meter? (Tshwane killing smart prepaid meters)

Charly

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#1
Hey guys, so Tshwane has recently announced that they will be replacing all of the ANC's heavily corrupt smart meters with conventional prepaid meters. I don't know how much of Tshwane they got onto that meter system but basically a few years there was a big push to get all the post-paid meter accounts onto this system. Even though it was a heavily corrupt system, it worked pretty well. You could see your daily usage online (bit of a gimmick but still cool) and also load units online. With the conventional prepaid units, is it possible to buy vouchers online? My Standard Bank app only gives the option to buy Eskom vouchers?

So the reason I am asking if it's possible to go back to a postpaid meter is because 2 years ago I bought a solar system (without a battery) half as an investment and half to be "green", so it would make the ROI much higher if I could feed back when the demand is low. Our previous postpaid meter would have allowed this as it was a spinning mechanical meter. Are the new postpaid meters even still mechanical like the old ones? I currently import 60% of my electricity whilst a friend who got the same system as me at the same time as me, who still has the old postpaid meter, says he imports less than 20% of his electricity.

Does anybody know which prepaid meters Tshwane is currently using for new installations as well as if they allow you to feed back?

Apparently the new prepaid meters will charge you for

Also curious about this: my house is quite old so the meter is still inside and a lot of the time during the day there is nobody home so what would the contractor do if I'm not there to give them access? Do they have the right to make forced entry? Will the smart meters eventually just be cut-off?
 

IdlePhaedrus

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#2
I am not sure if you will be allowed to go back to post paid in Tshwane, but even if you do, you won't get one of them old style mechanical meters that roll back on a per unit basis.

As far as I understand it, the new Tshwane prepaid meters will actually trip when you try feed back (see here) rather than charge you. The ones we have in Cape Town (supplied by the city) won't trip, but will charge you for every unit you put in at the same rate as you take out.

In order to feed back you will need a bi-directional meter. Here in CoCT you will be charged about R9K to have them install one, and then on top there is a daily charge to use it, of around R14.

Depending on the size of your system and the amount of electricity you use it will probably not be cost effective to feed back into the grid. Here in Cape Town as things stand, we are also now pretty much limited to 3.5KW max for rooftop solar with a 60Amp breaker.

Your best option is probably not to feed back. There are various mechanisms for this depending on your inverter make and model.
 

Charly

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#3
I am not sure if you will be allowed to go back to post paid in Tshwane, but even if you do, you won't get one of them old style mechanical meters that roll back on a per unit basis.

As far as I understand it, the new Tshwane prepaid meters will actually trip when you try feed back (see here) rather than charge you. The ones we have in Cape Town (supplied by the city) won't trip, but will charge you for every unit you put in at the same rate as you take out.

In order to feed back you will need a bi-directional meter. Here in CoCT you will be charged about R9K to have them install one, and then on top there is a daily charge to use it, of around R14.

Depending on the size of your system and the amount of electricity you use it will probably not be cost effective to feed back into the grid. Here in Cape Town as things stand, we are also now pretty much limited to 3.5KW max for rooftop solar with a 60Amp breaker.

Your best option is probably not to feed back. There are various mechanisms for this depending on your inverter make and model.
Ah yea, that is such a shame. I have a 7.6KW system so I'm wondering if it will really save me anything. Do you know what rate they pay for the energy you feed back in?

I would love to buy (probably finance it) a battery but from a ROI perspective I'm not sure it make sense to install a 20kWh battery for R150k (only includes battery cost) which will last 10-15 years when my solar system (25 year warranty) cost less than that and it's already saving me 43% on my electricity (2018 year average). The thing that makes me wonder about that is the fact that I know of an acquaintance who got the same system as me at the same time who is using an old-style meter and he says most months he barely pays anything at all for electricity.
 

IdlePhaedrus

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#4
According to this the feed in tariff for Tshwane is 10c as at the end of December. In the same thread CoCT sits at 85c and Johannesburg at 43c.

I haven't corroborated these figures with the municipal web sites concerned.
 

IdlePhaedrus

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#5
Ah yea, that is such a shame. I have a 7.6KW system so I'm wondering if it will really save me anything. Do you know what rate they pay for the energy you feed back in?

I would love to buy (probably finance it) a battery but from a ROI perspective I'm not sure it make sense to install a 20kWh battery for R150k (only includes battery cost) which will last 10-15 years when my solar system (25 year warranty) cost less than that and it's already saving me 43% on my electricity (2018 year average). The thing that makes me wonder about that is the fact that I know of an acquaintance who got the same system as me at the same time who is using an old-style meter and he says most months he barely pays anything at all for electricity.
If you have a 7.6KW system, and it is only covering 43% of your bill you might want to re-evaluate your usage patterns, especially at night. It certainly helps to have a meter that runs backwards, but with a system that size your savings should be more substantial regardless.
 

Charly

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#6
According to this the feed in tariff for Tshwane is 10c as at the end of December. In the same thread CoCT sits at 85c and Johannesburg at 43c.
I haven't corroborated these figures with the municipal web sites concerned.
Thanks for that thread - very informative.

I saw that in the tariff sheet. I thought it had to mean something else. That should be considered illegal. It would cost me more in wear and tear than what I'd be "saving". And then there's the fact that you have to pay for an expensive meter and a daily fee. Information from Tshwane regarding if they do indeed support it (The SSEG gov org says they do) is nonexistent except for an email on that org's site (SSEG@tshwane.gov.za) which is completely unresponsive. So frustrating.
If you have a 7.6KW system, and it is only covering 43% of your bill you might want to re-evaluate your usage patterns, especially at night. It certainly helps to have a meter that runs backwards, but with a system that size your savings should be more substantial regardless.
Even though I use about 1100kWh per month in total? But yeah, I've made a big effort to shift the loads to the day. The geysers are on timers and all come on at different times. I run the dishwasher in the morning.


I'm going to post on The Power Forum and see what everyone says. Thanks!
 

Paul_S

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#7
The geysers are on timers and all come on at different times.
So you have multiple electric geysers?
If so it would make a lot of sense to change them to solar geysers which will pay themselves off within a few years.

My 300 litre R26 000 solar geyser will pay itself off within 5 years and from then on I'm saving around R400 to R500 per month at the current electricity prices. If you have multiple geysers then your savings could be substantial.
 
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#8
Even though I use about 1100kWh per month in total? But yeah, I've made a big effort to shift the loads to the day. The geysers are on timers and all come on at different times. I run the dishwasher in the morning.
Multiple geysers can be a killer. You could go solar as Paul_S suggested. I went gas when I installed my solar. This is not for everyone though and saving depend largely on the number of people in the house and usage.

A quick and relatively cheap solution might be to replace the elements in your current geysers with smaller ones.

Another is fitting a pool cover and reducing your pump time if you have a pool.

Depending on your inverter you could monitor your usage and see when your load exceeds your solar input during the day and work out what is doing it and either shift it, change it or remove it. Old fridges for example can be stealthy consumers. Underfloor heating is another killer.

Before I installed my solar I first reviewed my usage and appliances and dropped my daily usage from between 21 and 25 kwh per day to between 7 and 11 kwh per day. This included:

- Gas geyser
- Gas hob and oven
- A++ fridge
- Reduced pool pump time
- LED lights throughout
 

Paul_S

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#9
Multiple geysers can be a killer. You could go solar as Paul_S suggested. I went gas when I installed my solar. This is not for everyone though and saving depend largely on the number of people in the house and usage.
The only issue I have against gas is that you're moving from one paid energy source to another whereas with solar water heating you're moving from a paid energy source to a free energy source (except for rainy days when the element needs to kick in).

However gas makes sense for heating requirements which cannot be converted to solar such as stoves/ovens.
 
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#10
The only issue I have against gas is that you're moving from one paid energy source to another whereas with solar water heating you're moving from a paid energy source to a free energy source (except for rainy days when the element needs to kick in).

However gas makes sense for heating requirements which cannot be converted to solar such as stoves/ovens.
The gas geyser is actually my biggest niggle. I tend to run out of gas in the middle of a shower with soap in my eyes. Also, when the North Wester blows and its location outside the burner is extinguished. This isn't much fun, especially in the middle of winter. It did fit my budget better at the time though, so for the moment I am living with it but a replacement is likely in the future.
 

Charly

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#11
Thanks a lot guys. I didn't think about that option of using a solar geyser. I think that would be a good option but then the issue is that I'm reducing the ROI of my solar system and I have another investment to "pay off".

I asked for advice on The Power Forum and they gave me some good feedback.
 
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