Eskom’s plan to avoid prepaid electricity disaster

 ·16 May 2024

Power utility Eskom says that its Key Revision Number rollover project is “progressing well” and is on track, with 3.61 million or 52% of the 6.9 million prepayment meters already recoded as of 15 May 2024.

South Africa has until the deadline of 24 November 2024 to rollover all prepaid electricity meters or risk having them stop working.

From 24 November, every Standard Transfer Specifications-compliant prepaid electricity meter in the world will stop accepting new voucher tokens unless it receives a Key Revision Number (KRN) code.

This is because one of the anti-fraud measures built into STS-compliant prepaid systems is a timer that started counting from 1 January 1993. The 20-code range will run out of numbers by 24 November.

Eskom and various municipalities in the country started rolling out a solution to the problem, where customers would have to update their meters by entering a 20-digit KRN code like a regular electricity credit token.

However, worries have emerged that the rate at which these rollovers are happening is not fast enough, despite distributors having almost a decade advance warning about the impending deadline.

Eskom says that its measures are on track, though, with just over half of its meters already done.

“The main Eskom meter recoding project in all nine provinces started in August 2023 after a successful pilot in Gauteng and since then a rapid approach of ensuring that customers are empowered with the necessary information and supporting channels to do it themselves was adopted,” the group said.

“We continue to implore and educate our customers to embrace the Do It Yourself (DIY) process. Our teams are available to promptly assist those customers who are experiencing challenges and have logged queries with reference numbers.”

Eskom said it has plans to sustain the rapid prepayment meter recoding process to ensure that all its prepayment electricity meters are recoded before the deadline of 24 November 2024.

“Some of these plans involve auditing and fixing meters that are faulty, bypassed or not buying,” it said.

In addition, the Key Revision Number rollover progress is monitored daily through a dashboard and customer support is provided through various simplified mechanisms.

Eskom reminded customers that the recoding of meters is done at no cost to the customers and cautioned against scammers who may attempt to take advantage of the re-coding process and request for any form of payment for this service.

“Customers are also reminded to enter all previously purchased credit tokens into their meter before entering their new meter recoding tokens. This is important because old credit tokens will not work after the meter is recoded,” it said.

The process of buying electricity remains unchanged.

Customers can still purchase electricity from major banks, online platforms, fuel stations, prepaid electricity vending agents, and retailers across the country, as they currently do.

Here’s how to recode your meter:

Get your two recode tokens from your prepaid electricity vendor when Eskom prompts you that your area is being rolled over.

  1. Key in the first 20 digits of your recode token and for it to be accepted.
  2. Key in the second 20 digits of your recode token and for it to be accepted.
  3. Very important! Key in the 20 digits of your purchased token to recharge your meter.

Read: Good news for South Africa – Eskom hits a milestone last achieved in 2021

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