In Zimbabwe, many homeowners and businesses rely on prepaid meters to closely manage power consumption and expenses. ZESA has announced that all prepaid meters will soon require a mandatory software upgrade. In this article, we provide an in-depth look at this upcoming meter upgrade. We will explain why ZESA is requiring this, how the upgrade will be performed, what steps customers need to take, and what risks there may be. With a bit of planning and understanding, Zimbabwean electricity users can smoothly transition through this meter upgrade process.

Though the reasons behind the upgrade are quite technical, they boil down to limitations in the current meter software. We will break this down in easy-to-understand terms, so you know exactly why your meter needs upgrading. Our goal is to ensure all ZESA prepaid meter users are fully informed and equipped to handle this change. Keep reading for plain language explanations and practical guidance to make the meter upgrade as seamless as possible for your home or business.

Why is ZESA upgrading prepaid meters?

ZESA is upgrading prepaid meters because the software that generates the tokens has a limit on the dates it can recognize. This limit will be reached on November 24, 2024. After that date, the current software will not be able to generate valid tokens. The upgrade will reset the software’s date limit, giving us another 30 years of use.

Do I need to buy a new meter?

No, you don’t need a new meter. The upgrade is just a software update that will be done remotely.

How can I upgrade my meter?

When you purchase electricity tokens, you will receive 3 additional token sets for the upgrade. Enter each 20-digit token set one by one into your meter after confirming each one was accepted before entering the next. The order of entry matters. Once all 3 upgrade tokens are entered, your regular electricity token can be entered and will load successfully.

What happens if I enter the tokens in the wrong order?

Entering the tokens in the wrong order will cause the upgrade to fail. Start over by entering the upgrade tokens again in the correct order provided.

Why do I need to use all my existing tokens before upgrading?

The upgrade changes the encryption keys in the meter, so existing unused tokens will become invalid. Use up any unused tokens before performing the upgrade.

What if I upgrade my meter without using all my tokens?

Unfortunately, any unused tokens still in your meter when the upgrade is done will be lost and cannot be recovered or refunded.

Will I get the upgrade tokens from all vendors?

Yes, the upgrade token sets will be included automatically whenever you purchase electricity from any vendor.

What if I purchase electronically?

You will still receive the 3 upgrade token sets electronically to enter into your meter.

When will I receive the upgrade tokens?

The upgrade is being done in phases across different areas. Wait for announcements from ZESA on when your area will be upgraded

What if I do not receive the upgrade tokens at all until the 24th of November despite making purchases?

The upgrade is required for all prepaid meters manufactured before 2014. Chances are you are running an upgraded meter.

Should I change the way I purchase tokens?

It’s best to stagger your purchases so you can receive the upgrade tokens over multiple purchases, rather than all at once.

What should I do before entering the upgrade tokens?

Make sure to enter all your old unused tokens first. Then take a photo of your meter. Finally, enter the three tokens.

Who can I contact if I have issues with the upgrade?

You can contact ZESA’s 24-hour contact centre for assistance with the upgrade.