Indian companies keen to help South Africa resolve power crisis

April 17th, 2008 - 11:55 am ICT by admin  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, April 17 (IANS) India is keen to assist South Africa in resolving its current power crisis, says Sanjay Kirloskar, leader of a 10 company delegation that is participating in the 10th annual Africa Power and Electrical Congress and Exhibition here. India is a partner country at the event, where delegates from across the globe are attending a variety of workshops and visiting exhibits by related companies from many countries.

Kirloskar, whose company has already been active in several African countries for many years now, said there were also other Indian companies involved in various power projects on the continent.

“Power problems in India have been there for a very long time, and we have found a lot of solutions as well.

“We have large companies here such as Tata, Larsen & Toubro, KC International, Kalpataru, Su-Kam and we are here, so I think we can give (South Africa) some very good solutions.

“We have had power problems since the early 1970s because of the growing demand and the inability of the government to keep pace with the demand. Indian companies developed products which were relevant from such times - products which are contemporary, robust and can do the job,” he said.

South Africa has had severe electricity supply problems in recent months and introduced load shedding which has even forced mines and other industries to shut down for days at a time as solutions are sought.

Commenting on the inability of South African importers to keep up with the demand for Indian products such as generators and inverters, Kirloskar said this demand was largely due to the fact that Indian products were suited to heavy-duty conditions and had proven themselves internationally.

“India has also always emphasised efficiency so these products are also very energy efficient, thus you get the same kind of quality that you get from Europe probably at a much lower price. It’s really value for money that Indian companies are offering,” he said.

Kirloskar said what was now happening in South Africa with the electricity demand caused by unprecedented growth had already happened a long time ago in India.

“It was only after the 1990s that the private sector got involved in generation of electricity which had been the right of the state until then, but all of us had our own generator sets, and large amounts of power could be generated by the private sector even earlier.

“But these hundreds of thousands of megawatts were used only during times of load shedding, not on a normal basis. Now there are many independent power producers in India which are connected to the grid,” he said.

Opening the exhibition Tuesday, Mbulelo Ncetezo of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa also expressed the hope that the Indian companies would assist in alleviating the problems in South Africa.

“We are hoping that they will provide the solutions that they have come up with, the innovations that they have made, to ensure that all that they have achieved in their country are also achieved here,” Ncetezo said.

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