January 11, 2024 6:23 am

By Jonan Kiiza

The management of Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) has commenced the token identifier (TID) rollover project for all the meters in the Rwenzori Service Territory (RST). It is used to determine if a token has already been used in a payment meter. The TID represents the minutes that have elapsed since January 1, 1993. The incrementing of the 24-bit field means that at some point in time, the TID value will roll over to a zero value. Thus, according to the standard transfer specification association, all meters must be upgraded from the current standard transfer specification (STS) 1 to 2 before the close of November 2024 to avoid inconveniences. Accordingly, any tokens generated after this date and utilizing the 24-bit TID will be rejected by the meters as being old tokens as the TID value embedded in the token will have reset back to 0.

The RST covers the political districts of Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, and parts of Kabarole. The following detail is critical to this ongoing exercise: According to Jonan Kiiza, UEDCL Spokesman, RST was UEDCL’s first preferred territory on the account that, when we took over operations from BECS, we used a similar exercise to onboard customers on our vending systems. Additionally, we replaced over 2000 meters of our customers in RST with smart meters, and we believe that this should facilitate a smooth TID rollover, Kiiza Said.

According to Kiiza, UEDCL Management started its token identification rollover by piloting one of its area offices in Kiganda in the North West Service Territories. The Kiganda office has 2,783 customers. In this pilot, UEDCL used a customer-centered approach. This means that the customer implements the upgrade or rollover by himself or herself. “We got positive results that by December 2023, over 2500 meters had been rolled over to version 2.” This gave us confidence that our customer-centered approach will not only be cost-effective but also very successful.

The company commenced a sensitization campaign, deploying a plethora of communication media. “UEDCL is running spot messages on UBC Radio Bundibugyo, Development FM Bundibugyo, and Mountains of the Moon FM,” said Kiiza Jonan, a UEDCL spokesman, adding that UEDCL has deployed communication up to personal social media forums commonly known as Whatsapp.

Upgrades are a common phenomenon in electrical gadgets, and thus this exercise does not cause any public anxiety. Picking a leaf of computers, you will appreciate that Windows 98 has since seen several upgrades to the current Windows 11. Technology is advancing, and thus an upgrade of UEDCL meters is not an option but a top priority. Kiiza further explained that after 30 years, this exercise will be repeated. In fact, for our customers who will be around in 2054 and 2084, this exercise we have commenced will be repeated.

“We take this opportunity to inform our customers that this ongoing exercise has nothing to do with how your meter will be consuming energy going forward.” Kiiza Jonan, UEDCL spokesperson, further highlighted that the other moral behind UEDCL choosing a customer-centered approach to TID rollover was to let the customer migrate their meters by themselves as a litmus that this exercise is legitimate. He further explained that once one follows the instructions given in SMS and loads the upgrade tokens, the exercise is one-off.

TID rollover is two-fold. It happens on the side of the UEDCL vending system and is completed by a customer entering in upgrade tokens sent to him or her after meters in a given area are commanded in the system to roll over to STS version 2. Once your area office is commanded to roll over in the UEDCL vending system, any customer who buys electricity after this instruction will receive 3 tokens in his or her SMS. The tokens are 1, 2, and 3. The first and second tokens must be entered in your interface in the order they were sent to you. Every time you enter a token, wait for your meter to respond before you enter another. The litmus test of this exercise is on the third token, which is your purchased energy. Once it loads and shows you the Kwhrs, your meter will have successfully rolled over to STS 2. You will only repeat this exercise after 30 years, that is, 2054.