DA calls for proper public engagement on Eskom’s smart meter programme

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Electricity
03 Jul 2023 in News
  • The DA notes the public’s concerns and lack of trust regarding Eskom’s smart meter installation program.
  • We call for comprehensive public engagement and education on smart meters before their installation.
  • Including the public in the decision-making process will foster trust and ensure alignment with the needs of South Africans.

The DA recognises the concerns and lack of trust among the South African public regarding Eskom’s proposed R16 billion smart meter installation program. While we understand the need to recover at least 7 000MW into the grid and end load-shedding, it is inherently unfair that citizens are being made to pay the price for Eskom’s failures.

Eskom’s demand-management strategy, which includes the mandatory installation of smart power meters in every household in South Africa, represents a significant change in approach to address the issue of load-shedding. We acknowledge that load-shedding has been a tactic employed by Eskom to limit electricity supply based on generation capacity. However, the installation of smart meters and the remote control of geysers raise legitimate concerns about privacy, control, and the potential for abuse.

Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has confirmed that South Africans will not have a choice regarding the installation of these smart meters. This heavy-handed approach does not sit well with ordinary South Africans, who deserve a proper explanation of the reasons behind this initiative and its potential benefits.

The DA firmly believes that before any Municipality can start installing or throttling smart meters, there must be comprehensive public engagement and education on the issue. It is crucial that citizens understand the purpose, functionality, and implications of smart meters, allowing them to make informed decisions and voice their concerns.

We call on Eskom and the relevant authorities to initiate a robust public consultation process to address the genuine concerns and lack of trust surrounding the smart meter program. South Africans deserve an opportunity to engage with the decision-making process, ensuring that their voices are heard and their interests are taken into account.

The DA remains committed to holding Eskom accountable for its failures and advocating for a transparent and inclusive approach to addressing the country’s energy challenges. We believe that a different approach, centered on proper public engagement and education, will foster trust and ensure that the implementation of smart meters aligns with the needs and concerns of ordinary South Africans.

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