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Dec 10, 2004

Ekurhuleni electricity meter boxes upgraded

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© Reuse this Johannesburg-based engineering and project management company Parnis Engineering Group is currently involved in the upgrade of the Thibakotsi project, which consists of a specially designed steel structures, manufactured to protect meter boxes.

The company, in conjunction with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitian Council, designed the standard structure in 1999 for covering mini substations and metering kiosks to protect both residents and council's equipment.

The Tembisa residential area was targeted to combat injury and deaths and damages to equipment and prevention of illegal electricity connections. The meter boxes can only be opened by means of a hydraulic system operating from a 12-volt battery. The structure opens vertically and is mounted on a concrete plinth.

The company has already installed 2 500 steel protective structures in the Tembisa area and, due to the success of the TBK, revenue has increased from R1,7-million in 1999 to R7,1-million in 2000 and currently averages at about R5-million a month.

All the structures in Tembisa are fitted with an alarm system that communicates through their split prepaid meter system to a central control room in the event of an alarm.

The structures have now further been upgraded with their own alarm and access control system.

This now means that regardless of the metering system in use, there is full control and history of who accessed the structure.

The access control system can be activated by means of a unique tag or alternatively by SMSing a pin code to a central computer whereby the pin code and cellphone are programmed to allow authorisation to open the structure.

Various business tools, such as management reports and statistics, can be downloaded from the system, which will eventually improve resource use.

After the upgrading of the standard protective structure it was decided to rename the structure to TBK (Thibakotsi), which means “protecting from danger”.

The protective structure is now a user-friendly product in Tembisa as can be seen by the artistic flare exercised on some of the structures.

The product was exhibited at the South African Revenue Protection Services Conference held in Durban in July.

Parnis Engineering Group is working in association with Velapi Projects, a section 21 company that identifies employment and business opportunities for the previously-disadvantaged and the disabled.

In the manufacturing process, the disabled and disadvantaged are employed on a selective basis.

The TBKs are manufactured completely to client's requirements in so far as size, type of steel and corrosion protection is concerned.

“The company is expanding business by moving into other areas that require protection for metering systems,” said De Lange.

Edited by: jenny furness
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