Powertel Communications has come to the rescue of the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company- ZETDC- with Internet of Things (IoT) products that will see the utility saving millions of dollars lost in the past owing to vandalism that has been rampant on the national electricity grid infrastructure.
Speaking on this development, Powertel Marketing Manager Prosper Mutswiri enthused that the solution is a timely intervention that was developed after having identified a huge need that the ZESA Group and the nation has experienced due to the consequences of transformer vandalism.
ZESA through the Group Stakeholder Relations, recently revealed that the utility is currently losing $4.5million worth of income that could otherwise have been channeled towards developing the nation's electricity infrastructure.
On average three transformers are stolen daily and ZESA has since issued a statement warning the public to brace for increased power cuts due to the effects of vandalism.
Whilst the ZETDC has said it is pursuing various strategies that include patrols, special operations in liaison with other security agents and awareness campaigns to contain the menace from further damaging and interference with electricity networks, the Powertel IoT solution comes on board as a scalable and realistic solution that will increase security through allowing 24/7 remote monitoring of transformers.
‘This is a first for Zimbabwe and we believe that as innovation pace setters, we should harness the best of technology to build our economy. Transformer monitoring will go a long way in this regard, as Powertel plays its role in supporting the government Transitional Stabilization Programme in building a robust digital economy," he said.
"We have been a team player and strategic innovative wing of the ZESA Holdings Group for years now and our role has been in part to also come up with solutions that addresses the needs of the group,"
"In 2018 we introduced IoT based Fleet Management and Vehicle Tracking Solutions. We have now expanded the scope of our IoT products to include Transformer Monitoring. Not only ZETDC will benefit, but ultimately, communities and the nation as a whole benefit through minimizing vandalism of critical infrastructure,".
Mr Mutswiri went on to speak on how much loss ZESA has experienced through vandalism.
"If you check media reports on ZETDC, last year (2018) alone, at least 100 transformers were lost and over 30 000 litres of transformer oil was drained. This is very worrisome and sets the nation back on the agenda of economic growth", quipped Prosper Mutswiri.
The Transformer Monitoring solution comes with a number of benefits which include Real time Monitoring of different parameters of distribution transformers such as current temperature, rise and fall in oil level, vibration and humidity.
The aspect of access control and real time surveillance and alarm systems forms part of the solution.