George Municipality is believed to be the first electricity provider in South Africa to pilot Access Energy, a freely licensed software solution that automates the reading, processing, and billing of electricity smart meter data.“The need for this became evident when we considered the scaling of wheeling and renewable energy on the George Municipality’s electricity grid,” says Bongani Mandla, the municipality’s director of electrotechnical services. “The manual billing process was one of the main challenges and resolving this meant reducing reliance and pressure on key human resources; reducing potential errors that could occur in the billing process,” he adds. Generators and off-takers
George Municipality’s current wheeling set-up comprises one generator and four off-takers through Enpower Trading (a NERSA licensed energy trader). However, the municipality is working on further improvements to its wheeling projects, including incentives for the private sector (both generators and off-takers) to participate in the programme.Developed by Cape Town based company, Open Access Energy, one of the benefits of the Access Energy solution is that clients can view their consumption and billing data in real time. The sharing of this meter data is made possible through its implementation of the Eskom sanctioned NRS049 5-2 protocol. Open Access Energy’s second interrelated product is called EnergyPro, which is aimed at independent power producers and energy traders entering the wheeling market.