Indian firm could help South African power supplier cut lossesJuly 2nd, 2009 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS
By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, July 2 (IANS) Technologies developed by Hyderabad-based ICSA, which is into energy management and audit, could help South African power utility Eskom significantly reduce its losses, ICSA chairman and managing director Bala Reddy has said here.
Speaking at a function Wednesday evening to celebrate the acquisition of South African software company Cura by Softpro, a subsidiary of ICSA, Reddy said he had met officials of Eskom, which had just increased its tariffs a few days earlier by over 30 percent as it struggled to find funds for the increased capacity required in South Africa.
“I was shocked to learn that commercial losses in South Africa were about 26 percent, almost on par with India. The same technologies that we use in India could be replicated here to reduce these losses.
“If you are able to reduce the gap, there is no need to increases tariffs for power.”
Reddy told IANS that ICSA had pioneered transmission distribution control in the power distribution sector in India to reduce commercial losses. “In India there is about 34 percent loss, with a target to bring it down to about 15 percent by 2012.”
“The South African power company is losing money because they are producing electricity, but they are not able to bill it or collect their dues for several reasons. We want to bring in technologies to address these issues and involve local people in making a customised solution for South Africa.”
Among the issues that the proprietary software of ICSA could help Eskom with are tampering with the supply network and misuse of prepaid cards for electricity meters.
“With our software, if somebody is tampering with the system, information will be immediately provided to the supplier. They could even disconnect users remotely.”
Reddy said with what they had achieved in India, the system could be adapted for use anywhere in the world.
“We therefore see great opportunity in South Africa because they have an acute shortage of power here, and they cannot sustain losses of 26 percent. They are trying to counter the losses by increasing tariffs, but that immediately encourages tampering, so the solution is rather to reduce losses than increasing tariffs.”
Reddy said Eskom had agreed to undertake a more detailed study of the opportunities available from ICSA.
“We have also invited Eskom people to come to India to study our systems there and then perhaps start a pilot project.”
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Tags: afri, bala, commercial losses, customised solution, cut losses, distribution control, distribution sector, electricity meters, energy management, gap, hassen, icsa, power distribution, prepaid cards, proprietary software, software company, system information, target, tariffs, wednesday evening