DIY TID upgrades for pre-paid meters

Theoretically COJ is upgrading all pre-paid meters with the TID fix.

Now, I have to take this with a pinch of salt because of the source, but a party in opposition has calculated (based on upgrades done in one street in one suburb) that it is impossible for COJ to upgrade all meters in time.

They further report that COCT has empowered residents to do their own upgrades. (I presume with small print that says words to the effect of “and if you end up with no power, don’t come complaining to us.”)

OK… so GIMF and it turns out that for my meter (Itron) there is an app that you download onto your phone which will do the firmware upgrade for you.


But wait: Will the serial number of the meter (this is what I use when buying tokens) change? Will the current credit on the meter remain in place? If not then how long do I have to buy and load a token?

Anybody know?

Also have an LTron, also had to upgrade the firmware a few months back. When I bought electricity, got 2 more long codes to type in, did that, the firmware upgraded sommer easily and all credit was left in place.

But that was in Cpt … so yeah, maybe this post is off center for the question, cause who knows what Jhb can and cannot do.

So COCT have made it very easy. You just get those extra codes when you buy as usual. Job done. This is probably what the opposition in COJ are talking about.

Jip. They even went by areas to spread the upgrades over a year or whatnot and not all at the same time.

The fix is just a code you load to the meter and it will allow tokens past the problem date to work. If you don’t have the fix then when you buy a token after that date the meter will think it is invalid. The token is fine, but your meter will have a problem verifying it.

Your meter number stay the same.
Your already loaded units are not touched.

It should be safe to run the update from your phone, but I have not done that so no experience to give insight on it.

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The Itron app doesn’t seem to be available in the SA Google app store.

This would have been my fall back if City Power don’t get around to doing the upgrades.

Just make sure you enter your tokens correctly…

Allowing users to self-update has a hitch: Any error in entering the key change tokens will leave the meter non-functional from the moment the update numbers were generated.

From: South Africa faces massive prepaid electricity problem

no idea what a “typo” (entering 123 vs required 122) will do but I entered the number incorrectly - well actually incomplete more than once and the meter simply rejected it until I entered the digits 100% correct.

but yeah, rather getting it 100% correct first go is obviously the safest route.

Probably has a checksum at the end, but such checksums are usually very rudimentary and two mistakes that happen to cancel out can end up valid.

For example, if instead of entering 1236 you enter 1326, and let’s say the last digit is the sum of those before it modulo 10… :slight_smile:


In my case I first entered the usual “reload”/credit token which the meter rejected. After multiple tries, I checked the token message in more detail and noticed the extra numbers. Realising what the extra numbers should be I started entering the numbers - but now the question, since there are two sets of 20-digit tokens, do you press “enter” after the first set, or only after the second set? (me being petrified of exactly @_a_a_a 's warning of bricking the meter) I went through multiple tries, including doing the first TID token followed by the “reload” token. Nothing seemed to work. In the end I do not even recall what sequence it wanted ( I think it was TID token, enter, wait couple of seconds, 2nd TID token, enter, wait and only after a while was it ready to accept the new credit token).

some thing I did learn is that keeping a backup reload token is a good idea - but do not keep it too long.

Cue dream scene squiggly intro and the sound of wind chimes …Some years ago before being able to purchase reload tokens online, Murphy was feeling more mischievous than usual so, one night with the meter credit dangerously close to zero popping out to the local garage to buy electricity I was greeted with the news that the system is down… so after quite a number of frantic stops I finally joined the loooonngggg que at the one place able to dispense tokens. Me trying my hand at being clever I later purchased an extra token and taped the printout to the meter to be able to use the token in case of another “system down” at the wrong time. … cue “back to present day”… roll on TID update, “oh yes, I must load my backup token before I enter the new secret numbers or I will lose my R150 worth of electricity…” enter the digits… meter rejects it… multiple times. I give up.

Later going through the info I managed to scrounge up for this meter I find out that it keeps only a certain number of transactions in memory, and any token older than the oldest token in memory will be rejected.

bright side is I am now immensely glad I did not follow through with my clever plan to purchase extra credit tokens every month and keep them on file to hedge against electricity tariff increases… :nerd_face:

That’s happened to me too, also with the system being down just about everywhere. I ended up switching a heap of stuff off, and putting some loads on the inverter (which had a very small battery bank back then)… and just barely made it to morning. With, as you might expect, the wife repeatedly reminding me that I really should buy electricity before it is critical :slight_smile:

Did I learn from that experience? Of course not.

Once sat for like 12 hours with Zero on the meter before I realised the meter ran out.

Of course, it was “Eskom’s fault”. :slight_smile:

You can purchase them and just load them immediately. I know someone that has in the region of 35MWh loaded on his meter, most of them was <R1 each.


iirc at the time there was information/rumour/urban legend that the practice of banking units on meters was frowned upon but the municipality did actually do meter inspections (general inspection to verify meter connected, balance etc) … not that they would actually be able to confiscate purchased units… Other reason for planned “paper bank” vs “on meter” was fear of meter packing up and dispute around pre-failure balance… but then tokens would not work… hence forum name checks out :crazy_face:

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I use this technique in summer. I buy all the cheap electricity every month and heap it up on the meter. The idea is to compensate for the higher cost in winter. My only problem is that savings is depleted by the second week of June, if I am lucky. Changing our mode of transport also didn’t help. More solar will be needed going into 2024, so maybe there will be some savings to bank again.