Smart Prepayment and Vending

PCMA prepayment system is an excellent platform for utilities who wish to implement a comprehensive and advanced pre-payment solution based on a "Smart Grid" platform. The PCMA solution adopts the guidelines from ESCOM in South Africa which specifies smart metering in smart prepayment systems (NRS049 - Smart Prepayment/Metering, and NRS084 -Load management and Demand response). 

PCMA has engineered a system to significantly improve pre-paid systems. PCMA also enables the operator to remotely control essential elements such as the ability to remotely credit a meter, remotely switch between credit and pre-payment, send immediate online tariff changes, provide emergency credit, trickle flow or load limiting when credit runs out; and user friendly pre-notification of disconnections. 

An important feature is the flexibility for the utility to send a remote command through the MDMS to update the tariffs within each and every smart meter and point of sale terminal in near real-time. 

PCMA's web-based Vending Management System provides a scalable solution for prepaid utility sales. Based on 3rd generation client-server technology.

PCMA has developed a unique encryption methodology which overcomes the challenge relating to illegal vending of STS tokens observed in other projects.

When the PCMA system downloads the token into the meter the system receives a confirmation from the meter through the two way communication that the token has been successfully loaded and it then reads the credit balance in the meter. This is to validate the transaction and to ensure that the meter has accepted the exact value. There is an option to automatically send an SMS or email to the customer as confirmation to confirm that this process is complete.

With every increase in the KW hour balance within the system, the system will automatically verify with the billing and vending system whether that increase is backed up by a legal transaction. The system logs all activity with the meter so that it is able to maintain records of the individual who loaded the credit whether it was performed automatically or manually, information of the user, the time of the transaction and the amount. All this information is stored in the database and is available for mangers to verify.

Using the STS token transfer technology brings the flexibility of using different vending systems and meters but also incorporates the risk of illegal vending. PCMA introduces an additional key structure within the STS protocol to enable a higher level of security.

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