Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria and SAPP top winners in this year’s African Utility Week Awards

African Utility Week Awards - Product Demonstrations
African Utility Week Awards - Product Demonstrations

“All water and power companies should join to see how they can work together”

The Ugandan National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Zambia’s ZESCO, the Southern African Power Pool and Nigeria’s Genesis Electricity Limited walked away with top honours at theAfrican Utility Week Industry Awards that were announced during the event in Cape Town, South Africa this month. The continent’s leading utility and sector professionals and projects were honoured and successes in the industry throughout 2013 were celebrated. Thousands of power and water professionals gathered for the 14th annual African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa conference and expo during which the focus was on energy and water efficiency, back-up electricity supply, clean energy solutions and Pan-African cooperation.

Winner of African Water Utility
Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation walked away with top honours in the African Water Utility category.

According to African Utility Week’s programme director Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, “NWSC has become a beacon in the region due to its very remarkable achievements. In the early 2000, utilities started visiting NWSC to benchmark practices and policies. As the number of visits increased NWSC established the External Services Unit in 2005 to handle such programmes and render advisory, training and consultancy services to the utilities. Ever since over 110 benchmarking visits and trainings have been carried out and the utilities have realised tremendous improvements.”

The utility’s Business Relationship & Development Manager, Joseph Ndegeya: “it is very exciting to win such a prestigious award, coming on top of other African utilities – not very simple. This forum should be supported and all water and power companies should join to see how they can work together for improved service delivery and performance for sustainability. Thanks to the organisers.”

Finalists were Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya, Tanga Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Tanzania and Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority, Rwanda.

African Utility Executive
Cyprian Chitundu,Managing Director of Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO),won the coveted African Utility Executive Award.

Says African Utility Week’s Pombo-van Zyl: “Mr Chitundu has driven ZESCO through the most aggressive expansion plans. Major projects in the Generation and the Transmission sectors have been made possible, to name a few:  the Kariba North Bank Expansion Project,  the connection of the North Western Province to the Grid, the Kalumbila 330kV Transmission project, the Luano and Kitwe 330/220/11kV substations and various substation upgrades.”

Finalists in this category were:  Michael Wolf, Technical Advisor, GIZ for Kericho Water Company, Kenya, Gordon Molefe, Director: Customer Services and Supplies, Botswana Power Corporation, Sicelo Xulu, Managing Director, City Power Johannesburg.

African Collaboration
In the category of African Collaboration the  Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) was recognised for its Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (ZIZABONA) interconnector project that is currently the only project in the SAPP that involves four countries. The countries have signed an MOU expressing their desire to connect their networks and trade electricity. No other interconnector in the SAPP, involving more than three countries, has ever progressed this fast and this is a milestone achievement for the SAPP.

In his response to the award, Lawrence Musaba, Co-ordination Centre Manager, Southern African Power Pool in Zimbabwe said “it is a great opportunity to continue and implement the project.  I am glad that our efforts have been recognised – this recognition energises us to move forward.”

Finalists in this category were: Emfuleni Local Municipality, Reykjavic Geothermal and University of Stellenbosch.

Top African Power Utility
Genesis Electricity Limited won the award for top African Power Utility. The company is one of the first IPPs that are executing a 78MW power plant for the supply of power to one of the two functional refineries in Nigeria. Genesis Electricity has developed IPPs in a few countries in Africa, and is in the process of acquiring a 1020MW Thermal IPP in Nigeria.

Other finalists in this category were:  Copperbelt Energy Corporation, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company, ZESCO Limited of Zambia.

Category:  Clean Energy Project
Winner:  The Makeni Project in Sierra Leone. Said Howard Barrie, partner in the Project Finance Group at Eversheds law firm: “Addax Bioenergy and Eversheds are very proud to have won. Many people worked very hard. We have been able to provide sustainable employment for 1800 people in Sierra Leone and create a new export industry in the country, namely the export of ethanol to Europe, while increasing generated power by 20%. The award is particularly timely as the project is reaching technical completion and going into commercial production at this time.”

Finalists:  Scatec Solar, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Ormat Technologies.

Top South African Municipality

The City of Cape Town was named top municipality.   “We’re absolutely delighted”, said the City of Cape Town’s Executive Director for Utility Services Gisela Kaiser after receiving the award for top municipality: “this is thanks to thousands of dedicated and disciplined staff and fearless leadership who only expect the best from us.”

Says African Utility Week’s programme director Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl: “we are so proud to have the City of Cape Town as the official host city to our event as Cape Town is a city that is serious about service delivery and planning. The City of Cape Town’s infrastructure planning for short-term, medium-term and long-term is at the highest level.”

The other finalists in this category were the eThekwini, Durban and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipalities.

Lifetime achievement
“An unexpected and gratifying honour, is how Dr Steve Lennon, Group Executive: Sustainability at Eskom responded to winning the African Utility Week Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been with Eskom for more than 30 years and is widely recognised locally and internationally for leadership in areas such as technological innovation and R&D, sustainability management and the triple bottom line, Southern African and Global energy sector trends and policy, climate change policy and strategy, renewable energy including project development and funding and establishing partnerships and networks including Investor relationships.

Says Dr Lennon: “it is an absolute inspiration to be given this award at a time in the power sector when we are on the brink of a major change and development. With over half a trillion rands words of investment coming into our sector from the public and private sector over the next five years, with unprecedented rollouts and new technologies, including low carbon technologies, with massive developments in the region both in terms of transmission infrastructure as well as generation projects, things are really happening in our region.”

The other finalists were former Eskom CE Brian Dames, Hermann Joseph, Deputy General Manager, Central Water Authority, Mauritius and Silver Mugisha, Managing Director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda.

Community project
Theglobal metering giant Itron won top honours for Community Project for their Water PlayPump Programme at the Relekile Primary School in Kuruman, South Africa, a very dry and arid area of the Kalahari Desert. The PlayPump was built as part of an innovative collaboration with local utility Ga-Segonyana Local Municipality. As the children play, the merry-go-round’s motion powers the pump, which draws clean water into a 2,500-litre storage tank for drinking, washing, cleaning and watering the school’s vegetable garden.

Yolanda Gossel is Itron’s Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist: Africa and was over the moon when the winner was announced: “I feel very humbled and the project has been a great privilege. The school children are worth every cent of the investment we made. This project is of special significance because it is inspired by the play of children – the pump only works if the children play on it.”

Finalists in this category were: Rays of Hope and First Solar, the Electrical Engineering Training Programme and the University of Johannesburg.

Category:  Energy/Water Efficiency
Winner:  City Power Solar Water Geyser Project in Johannesburg.

City Power’s Managing Director Sicelo Xulu thanked the City Power team of more than 2000 people for their continued hard work: “the project is a mayoral flagship project where we are rolling out over 110 000 low pressure solar geysers throughout Johannesburg, starting with the low income areas.  We are halfway through with over 45 000 geysers already installed.  This has not only reduced energy consumption but also carbon emissions.  This comes at a critical time as the industry faces security of supply issues.  We are very proud of this award which shows recognition from the industry in a challenging environment.”

Finalists:  Cavendish Square, Two Oceans Aquarium and Hotel Verdi.

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Communications manager:  Annemarie Roodbol
Mobile:  082 562 7844
Email:  [email protected]