STSA Warns Prepaid Meters Need to be reset Before 24 November 2024

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  • The South African metering standards industry body Standard Transfer Specification Association (STSA) estimates that approximately seven million prepayment meters are currently installed in South Africa, which could still grow to approximately eight million by 2024.
  • These meters will need to be reset before 24 November 2024 as the system that runs the credit tokens will run out of numbers at this time and all existing meters will stop accepting credit tokens.

Don Taylor, Director of STSA, explains, “The token identifier (TID) is calculated as the number of minutes that have elapsed since a defined base date of 1993 up to the time of creating the token. The TID has a limited range and will run out on 24 November 2024, at which point all existing prepayment meters will stop accepting credit tokens. In order to circumvent this issue, the memory of each meter needs to be cleared of all stored TIDs and its cryptographic key needs to be changed before 2024.

Once done, the new range of TIDs will then start from a new base date of 2014 and run out in 2045, thus extending the useful functional life of the meter. In order to do this key change, it is necessary that each meter has to be physically visited, which can be performed either by dedicated employees of the utility or by the end customer”.

There is thus only a 5 year window, within which the utilities have to complete this programme. Because the STSA is concerned that utilities may leave this too late, they have embarked on an awareness programme by reaching out to all STS users. They have also provided  a platform that will facilitate technical support and guidance to users during the implementation of the TID rollover programme, thereby urging them to upgrade their vending systems to STS Edition 2 and visit each meter in its region to clear the memory and change the meter key before 24 November 2024.

In an effort to continue the awareness drive of the 2024 TID Rollover event, the STSA has established a TID Rollover microsite for this purpose where users will be able to interact by discussion of issues. The microsite will be launched at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa Show taking place in Cape Town on the 14 – 16 May 2019.

Taylor adds “In addition we have embarked on a communication effort with users by making use of various media & online channels, including YouTube as well as conference events.  We will also shortly be publishing a Pilot Programme to assist users who haven’t as yet commenced with the programme or to assist those who have commenced but are experiencing challenges. The STSA will also be hosting workshops at various conferences & regional municipal events and will assist with compliance testing of meters free of charge”.

Don Taylor adds: “We estimate there are approximately 50 million meters that are currently installed globally, which will definitely be affected by the rollover. If utilities are sufficiently proactive, then it is possible that all new meters being installed can be manufactured on the new base date of 2014, thus avoiding the 2024 event for these newly installed meters. It could well be that approximately 70 million meters in total will be affected between now and 2024. We therefore urge the industry to upgrade to STS Edition 2 immediately, start manufacturing new meters on the 2014 base date and to commence the TID rollover programme as soon as possible.”

STSA is a returning industry partner association and exhibitor at the upcoming African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa conference in Cape Town in May 2019. An STS workshop on TID Rollover will take place at African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa **Franco Pucci – Technical Consultant for the STSA, will host a Workshop on “STS Edition 2  and the Token ID (TID) Rollover event on 24 November 2024” on 13.05.19, registration details are on the AUW 2019 Website as well as the STS & TID Rollover Websites.**

Standard Transfer Specification
The STS was created over 25 Years ago in South Africa, as an industry standard to support the Eskom mission of “Electricity for all” and its electrification programme to connect 10 million households to the electrical supply grid by making use of prepayment metering technology. The STSA was founded and became the custodian of the STS in 1997, which was then published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as IEC62055-41 and IEC62055-51 as open international standards for prepayment meters.

There are currently approximately 170 members from 36 countries, almost all of which are manufacturing STS compliant products.

The STSA urges all ALL USERS OF STS PREPAYMENT TECHNOLOGY to commence their TID Rollover projects immediately.

Dates for African Utility Week
Conference and expo: 14 -16 May 2019
Location: CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

Register to attend here


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