APIA, SAMOA – 26 AUGUST 2020: Smart meters are supposed to be the way of the future for local electricity consumers with advances in technology.
However the Smart Meter installation has been suspended amidst complaints from consumers.
The General Manager of the Electric Power Corporation, Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano confirmed the problem.
“The problem is the connections slow to respond due to interference but once that is addressed then we will continue with the programme,” said Tologata.
“The EPC, the office of the Regulator and ITRON, the company supplying meters are working together to eliminate these problems,” explained Tologata.
Three thousand smart meters have already been installed in as many households in the most populated areas of Vaitele and Falelauniu.
“We expected problems and that is why we monitor the progress of smart meters already being installed, and we can now look at issues raised by consumers,” said Tologata.
The meters work on the use of the internet to buy electricity credit using the mobile phone services available locally.
Tologata says EPC is also working on their fibre object system linkage with the Tui Cable and once the problem is solved, the installation will continue to cover the whole country.
Money saving benefits
Consumers are complaining that smart meters do not have the features of the cash power meters currently in use such as the red button blinking or a peeping sound to indicate that the cash power is almost finished.
The smart meters have no indicator to warn the consumer that the electricity credit needs topping up. The smart meters also indicate only the monetary value of the credit purchased but not the cost per unit of the credit bought.
But according to Tologata, smart meters can be programmed to still be in operation if the credit runs out until the consumer tops up.
He also said the new smart meter system can give accurate consumption reading whereas the old system could not pick up a loss of 20%.
“Now it’s 8% to 9% improvement in accuracy reading, ” he said.