Current Research Project

Automation of LUKU Recharging and Power Consumption Tracking

The current electricity bill system allows the customer to purchase electricity via mobile money or bank services. TANESCO in return sends back a token number to the customer through a mobile phone used to purchase the token. Once the token is received, the customer has to physically enter the token numbers into the electric meter to get electricity service. Despite the usefulness and achievement of the current system, it presents several drawbacks.

The first problem is the inconveniences customers face when inserting tokens caused by the position of electric meters. Most of the meters are located at very high positions outside the house beyond a person’s reach. The position becomes even more challenging when the person entering the token is either old, disabled, sick or young child. Moreover, the introduction of Customer Interface Units (CIU) has not been effective enough in providing help as most of them seem to be useless when total power cutoff occurs as the alternative power source system which uses batteries can be easily eroded when they are left for a long time.

The second problem is the sudden power cut off once the units are over or the bill has expired. Electricity goes off without any warning provided to the customer. For the current system, a customer is supposed to read the meter either from the CIU or on the meter to be able to understand that the bill is about to expire. This arrangement is stressful and normally not done by users due to either the meter location or the malfunctioning of the CIU. Hence, a customer might take a while before releasing the power cut off is because of the bill or the normal network failure. 

This research project focuses on designing and implementing an automatic LUKU recharging and power consumption tracking system. The proposed meter will have a built-in capability to send data to a mobile application for analysis and inform customers about the due date of the electricity bill. This will enable customers with smartphones to track their electric consumption on a daily basis and recharge their meters.  

This research project is led by Mr Mpoki Abel Mwaisela as the principal investigator under the supervision of Dr Honest Kimaro.