Eskom chief executive Brian Dames will once again deliver the keynote address during this year’s opening session of African Utility Week in Cape Town on 14 May.
About 5 000 power professionals from all over the continent meet at this event every year, at what is the largest utility gathering of its kind in Africa.
African Utility Week’s programme director, Claire Volkwyn, says: “As the leading African power utility, Eskom’s presence is a sign of their continued support as host utility of the event, their commitment to the growth and expansion of the industry and opportunity to grow a shared vision of what the power sector in Africa can look like if we work together.”
She says there are always high expectations when Dames addresses this industry event because “as the largest power utility in Africa, and one of the largest in the world, Eskom’s strategy for the next 12 to 18 months will inform a lot of decisions, not only for industrial, commercial or domestic consumers within South Africa, but also for other utilities which are either dependent on Eskom for power, or have plans to develop a strategic relationship with Eskom.
“In the 13 years of African Utility Week’s existence, we have been part of, and at the root of, many valuable joint projects between utilities and services providers across Africa,” says Volkwyn, adding that the Eskom CE has in the past often emphasised the need for collaboration in order to foster growth in Africa’s power sector.
“This message has been strengthened by the recent announcement that Eskom has finalised a draft African strategy with a view as they put it: ‘to taking equity as well as operational positions in generation and transmission projects in the rest of the continent, with its primary focus being opportunities in southern Africa.
“Particularly high on the list of priorities in this strategy is hydropower and transmission projects within SADC. As the only true pan-African event, we are perfectly placed to facilitate this ongoing vision.”
The African Utility Week programme will address many of the ongoing challenges that utilities on the continent grapple with.
“The day to day challenges of African utilities include getting the generation mix right so that they have the optimal balance of ‘least cost’ options, but also the maximum energy security that they can ensure.
“The importance of metering cannot ever be underestimated, and we are going to be addressing the importance of correct installations, revenue management and pros and cons of smart metering,” Volkwyn concludes.