Warning over prepaid meter crime wave in South Africa

 ·8 Feb 2024

City of Joburg’s power utility, City Power, has warned residents to be on the lookout for criminals using fake credentials to gain entry into homes to rob unsuspecting customers.

The warning comes as the utility intensifies its token identifier (TID) programme, which will ensure that prepaid meters will be able to remain functional after 24 November 2024.

The group said that it is ramping up its TID programme, which launched in August 2023, to upgrade all prepaid meters – which means workers will be out and about in full force to get the project done on time.

Because of this, the opportunity for criminals to take advantage is elevated.

“The city is aware that criminals use counterfeit meter reading credentials to enter residential homes to rob unsuspecting customers. To ensure that they don’t fall prey to this crime, customers may verify the TID agents’ credentials by calling the number reflected on their branded bibs or valid ID cards,” City Power said.

The utility stressed that the upgrade service is provided at no cost, so customers should not pay for TID meter resetting.

It urged customers to report suspicious activities such as being asked to pay for meter resetting service, or when people show up at their doorsteps not wearing TID-branded clothing and have no ID cards.

The teams are easily identifiable, as they wear yellow TID-branded bibs or T-shirts and carry valid ID cards with their photo, name, and surname, as well as an expiry date.

Why the upgrade?

Due to the old technology used in prepaid meters, all systems will stop dispensing electricity in November 2024, as credit tokens will run out of available numbers unless they are reset.

Prepaid meters that are not upgraded by this time will then cease to work.

“The TID programme is rolled out in all City Power’s areas of supply where authorised agents conduct audits, reset, and replace pre-paid meters at no cost to customers.

“Electricity units found on the meter when replaced will be carried over to the new one,” it said.

Read: How much prepaid electricity will cost in South Africa after the 2024 price hikes

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