Pre-paid electricity users urged to upgrade their meter software


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South Africans using the pre-paid electricity meter boxes throughout the country are urged to heed the warning to upgrade their software.

Centlect, the power utility for Mangaung Metro is encouraging its customers to activate their boxes before the end of November so that they are not left behind come the deadline.

A software upgrade is looming for these electricity meter boxes. The local electricity utility is on the drive to create awareness. The change is said to be influenced by the set of numbers that are becoming obsolete after more than three decades.

“Those numbers are becoming like expiring and therefore require that we introduce additional numbers to the normal 20 token numbers that the customers used to get to 24. As a result, that requires you to know our software to be upgraded in order to accommodate the new token numbers like I said the 24 numbers,” says Lele Mamatu, Centlec Spokesperson.

Failure to activate the meter boxes will result in consumers being unable to load new electricity tokens.

“We are pushing that it should be done by the 24th of September as an entity but the deadline is November as you said. That is why right now we are striving for you know very hard to ensure that all our customers you know are covered by this thing. So that come November then we are sorted,” Mamatu explains.

Residents have shared their experiences after they were confronted with three sets of numbers they were not used to.

“My experience before it was quite challenging because when tried to put the meter number it could not go through. So, we tried too many times to the extent that we even left it and only to find out that when you ask somebody else then you’re told it’s the new upgrade. It’s something that is happening. So, we didn’t know about it, and we even lost the electricity,” a resident says.

“I went to the nearest and bought electricity, so I got three numbers extra. And went back to the store and they refunded my money back. It’s when I went to spar and bought electricity until today, I don’t have a problem,” another resident said.

“I had a challenge after buying electricity when I punched the numbers into the meter box. I then had to go to Centlec the following day. When I arrived at Centlec I found other people with similar challenges. They told us we needed to insert the first row of numbers and wait a few seconds. After that, you insert a new line and wait again few seconds and the third one is just like that. From there on I’ve never experienced problems,” a resident explains.

Besides the deadline set for November this year, Centlect wants to complete their upgrades for thousands of consumers’ meter boxes by the 24th of September.

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