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It is truly a great honour and privilege to welcome all of you to the beautiful Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which holds its place in the country’s history as having been named after a river (Buffalo River), at whose mouth lies the only river port in South Africa. That we have chosen Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality to host this year’s technology convention is quite fitting with the theme of the conference which seeks to focus our attention to how best municipal electricity utilities can support South Africa’s infrastructure and service delivery objectives. Buffalo City, like many municipalities across the country, is facing a number of infrastructure and service delivery challenges. These are hindering its ability to increase its contribution to the country’s
economic growth and providing a better life for all. This is after all, part of the reason we exist… (more)

It is with sadness that the AMEU secretariat reports the death of Danie Potgieter who passed away on 19 July 2013. He was a well-known and well-loved honorary member and past president of the association. He will be remembered as a humble, friendly man with natural leadership qualities and a wonderful sense of humour. He was laid to rest on 26 July 2013, in Polokwane… (more)

The industry was saddened to hear of the passing away of Wynand Viljoen, who died on 11 July 2013. He served the city of Matlosana as the director of electrical and mechanical engineering services for 21 years. Viljoen was a registered professional technologist in electrical and mechanical engineering with government tickets in both disciplines. A memorial service was conducted on 15 July 2013… (more)

In the modern world nothing happens without electricity, and yet in our land it is often referred to in disparaging terms by the general public, by our customers and by the media… (more)

Allow me to remind you that it was our predecessors –who had the vision to establish our association way back in 1915 because they believed that it was necessary “to promote the interests of Municipal Electricity Undertakings”. They did this by developing and agreeing on technical standards for our industry, promoting the standardisation of regulations, by-laws and safety standards, the training of technical staff, and promotion of good management – to name but a few things. One of the first achievements was the standardisation of the voltage and frequency for electricity supplies… (more)

Honorable delegates, We again have a record number of registered delegates (650 to be exact), the most exhibition stands ever at an AMEU convention and a record number of foreign guests. This tells us that the AMEU remains a relevant association even in today’s tough times. “Smart” is of course the latest buzz word in the industry internationally and we thought it fit to bring you the first convention in South Africa to zoom into this topic and appropriately themed it “Solutions for a smart industry”… (more)

NERSA has recently published on its website, regulatory rules for use-of-system (UOS) charges to facilitate transmission and distribution system access to “Sellers of the new generation capacity”. The “Electricity Regulations on New Generation Capacity” dated 04 May 2011 (Government Gazette No. 34262) provide the framework for the procurement of new generation capacity but are only applicable to such procurement by organs of state and not for wheeling arrangements… (more)

Recent articles published in the AMEU e-Bulletin and other media sources have served to highlight the national power system constraints expected over the next few years, as well as a few of the recommended mitigation strategies to prevent or reduce the widespread disruption experienced during the 2008 electricity generation crisis. These constraints impact both winter load (higher demand) and summer load (the need to do essential maintenance on the generation fleet)… (more)

Deon Louw is a very special man in the history of our organisation. Hannes Roos is registered with ECSA as Pr (Tech) Eng. Sy Gourrah – I met her when we were sitting and waiting for our employment interviews in September 2001… (more)

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the 23rd Technical Convention to be held in the lovely coastal town of Cape Town. I want to immediately thank the city for agreeing to host this prestigious event. Cape Town had suffered an AMEU Convention drought for 22 years after the late Alwin Fortmann handed the chain to Fred Daniel at the Cape Sun hotel on that morning of 4 October 1989… (more)

Reliable sources have revealed that the cabinet has decided to withdraw a bill published on 17 June 2009 proposing an amendment to the constitution of South Africa in respect of the existing entrenched rights and obligations of local government entities (i.e. municipalities) to distribute electricity. This decision by the cabinet is said to be the precursor to the disbanding of EDI Holdings (Pty) Ltd by 1 April 2011. EDI Holdings is a state owned company that was established by government on 1 July 2003 to project-manage the restructuring of the EDI… (for more see

by W L O Fritz and D C Kallis, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

At the 51st national ANC conference in December 2002 it was resolved that in the rationalising of electricity distribution, viable and affordable electricity supply should be ensured on the foundation of a minimum free basic electricity service to all households… (more)

by Dr. C G Carter-Brown, P Fowles, G Francis, H Boshoff, R Du Preez, J Kalichuran, C Hempel, D Potgieter, D Zondi, G Booysen and S Bhana

In June and July 2010 South Africa hosted a world class FIFA Soccer World Cup, with 32 teams competing in 64 games without any supply interruptions to key sites during critical times. This paper summarises the activities of the South African electricity supply industry to coordinate preparations and ensure that the event was supplied with reliable high quality power… (more)

by Amal Khatri, Eskom

Eskom, the South African electricity utility, is facing a diverse range of social and economic challenges. This is hampering business progress and infrastructure growth, which are elements key to the long term sustainability of the utility. The key to having a sustainable business is the alignment of processes and technologies to meet the demands of present and future network uncertainties. Success will depend largely on the optimal use of assets and strategic investments… (more)

by Corrie Visagie, Eskom

It has been clear from events towards the end of 2007 and into 2008 that there is an inadequate supply-demand balance in South Africa. The global economic downturn during the second half of 2008 gave some temporary respite to the electricity system, but demand has already picked up to the 2008 levels and is growing, while we are not adding significant new generation plant to the system until Medupi’s first unit is planned to come on line in 2012… (more)

by C L M Pierini, NETGroup

Power system performance is influenced by many factors. This report is a simplified look at the impact of protection equipment and protection settings on the performance of power systems and areas where this may be mitigated and/or improved. This paper is of an academic nature and does not quantify the results before and after intervention… (more)

by Dr. W J de Beer, N Waters, L Annamalai, EDI Holdings

This paper discusses benchmarking distribution electric utility industry performance in the South African environment. In addition, given the performance data now available as a consequence of 33 completed municipal ringfencing projects, the paper provides a contextualisation of the data and an interpretation of the relative performance of the ringfencing participants, by utilising benchmark data and best practice information sourced in the broader international distribution utility context… (more)

by Silas Zimu, City Power

The incidence of conductor and material theft is on the increase. As with other electricity distributors, City Power (CP) has been proactive in dealing with the problem of theft and is using various methods to combat this scourge… (more)

by M Maphaka, Eskom, S Naidoo and V Moodley, EON Consulting

Energy loss is of concern across South Africa and is an issue that many utilities around the globe face. This paper will explain how Eskom is addressing the energy loss issues experienced, what lessons have been learnt over the past few years, and what will be the areas of focus going forward… (more)

by A J van der Merwe and L P P Fourie, NetGroup SA

In this paper the authors will explain the importance of such electrical losses and the losses value chain and how to analyse losses to its fullest content to utilise this as a management tool, to improve utility financial sustainability. By quantifying the different elements of losses and utilising the other business economic parameters of the utility, management can effect utility financial improvements to the advantage of all customers and ensure sustainability. In effect it provides a managerial performance roadmap for the utility… (more)

by CIr L G Kritzinger, Centlec

This paper addresses a number of questions – What was the tariff increase experienced? How much did the individual components increase – was it 29,9% or was it 300%? What was the financial impact of the tariff increases on the municipalities? What can municipalities do to adapt to the increases? Recommendations on what can be done in the future… (more)

by Robert Ferrier and Erlin Moll, Buffalo City Municipality

The face of South African municipalities has substantially changed over the last decade. Small municipalities have amalgamated into larger wall-to-wall municipalities and metros. This exercise reduced the number of functioning municipalities from over 1000 to 286 municipalities… (more)

by Sandile Maphumulo, Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality

Attraction and retention of scarce engineering skills is identified as the greatest risk to the sustainability of the industry and the delivery of services to communities. It must therefore become a strategic imperative… (more)

by Hendrik Barnard, Elexpert

Municipal distribution is in a challenging environment. This paper will throw some light on the challenges faced by some municipalities on some of the realities, challenges and solutions to this challenge with specific reference to tariffs and pricing… (more)

by Stephen Delport, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

The purpose of this paper is to point out the close relationship between the various large power user electricity tariffs, and those of municipalities. These tables were compiled in an attempt to compare tariff on the same basis.  In this paper the author basically used two group sets of actual large power user data, as well as electricity purchases for the City of Ekurhuleni. The results of the data sets are then applied to the various municipalities to compare the possible revenues that will be generated… (more)

by R E Zietsman, Geopower

This paper proposes three funding models for the provision of mainly primary infrastructure by developers. These models are based on the experience gained and lessons learnt with several privately funded municipal primary infrastructure projects… (more)

by M D Mokoala, Polokwane Municipality

The Skills Development Act was developed in response to the way companies operated in the past. Employers used to employ people without skills and then teach them or just develop skills via experience. These people were then given certain responsibilities without adding any incentives and formal education… (more)

by A Vermaak, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

An electrical engineer was asked why he was leaving for London to take up a managerial position in an electrical supply company. His answer was that he desired a professional working environment so that he could grow, be a better engineer and have a sense of fulfilment. These desires probably hold true for most of us. The question then is: how do we create and sustain a professional working environment that inspires staff and produces the desired results?… (more)

by Councillor Visvin Reddy, eThekwini Municipality

Historically only 12% of South Africa had access to electricity, namely industries, mining and white urban areas. In 1993 this number grew to 36% (EFA–Electricity for All). By 2003, 70% had access – a success rate of over 250 000… (more)

by B Gass, Actom Protection & Control

An authorised person closed an 11 kV oil circuit breaker (OCB) on to a fault at a main substation. The OCB exploded and the force of the blast blew off the substation doors, seriously damaging the building. The authorised person broke his right arm when the door behind which he was standing was blown open. The fire that followed destroyed all the equipment within the substation. This paper looks at the incident, the cause and the actions to be taken to prevent a recurrence of a similar incident… (more)

by R Millard and L Fourie, PB Power

Safety in the electricity distribution industry has always been a high priority but with the overwhelming skills shortage in the industry and the shortfall in funding for maintenance and replacement of old assets, safety standards have slipped and accident statistics are worrying. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 and the regulations prescribe both the standards to be applied in order to ensure the safety of persons and equipment, and the procedures that should be followed to monitor this… (more)

by Dr. V Lawrence, Eskom

The current system constraint that has seen load shedding implemented as a necessary means of stabilising the national grid, is set to continue until the new build programme is completed… (more)

by L de Nysschen, Actom Protection and Control

An overview of available metering technology is offered, providing the main features of each. Further, the benefits of  utilising these metering technology options in a municipal environment are sketched. This then provides a platform from which conclusions can be drawn… (more)

by R Hill and H J Hayes, Landis+Gyr

This paper describes the benefits of adding remote access terminals to split STS prepayment metering installations. Characteristics of two pilot sites are given to demonstrate the versatility of such systems to utilities and consumers. Interoperability and co-existence issues are noted and the end use capabilities of this form of “smart” prepayment system are compared with those of emerging “smart” AMI meters… (more)

by Dr. W de Beer and N Waters, EDI Holdings

An integrated and holistic approach to the effective management of the asset base through its entire life cycle is fundamental to the success of an asset-centric business. Without executive management, strategic direction setting and active sponsorship of the asset management programme, business performance, at best, will be less than optimal… (more)

by M Damm, Fuseforward International

Asset management (AM) is a process of maintaining asset performance at a required level of service while minimising total life cycle cost. Integrated asset management systems provide information to support decisionmaking on capital and operational spending, optimisation of infrastructure assets, and rehabilitation and eventual replacement of assets… (more)

by Anton Booyzen and Sewes Fourie, Bigen Africa Services

Asset management in utilities is exposed to a plethora of legislative and statutory requirements as well as a myriad of  frameworks, guidelines, norms and standards in addition to other pressures for compliance… (more)

by Ompi Aphane, Department of Energy, on behalf of the Minister of Energy
The AMEU is an important stakeholder as we grapple with the challenges that the electricity sector faces. Last year we outlined a set of issues that we had identified as priorities for the year, in order to take the electricity distribution sector forward as it grapples with the challenges it faces. To recap, we had indicated that some of the priorities that government was driving… (more)
Clive Errol Burchell was born on 3 Aug 1933, and grew up and went to school in Boksburg. There is still a photo up in Boksburg High School of him as a team captain. He qualified as an electrician and then studied further to become an electrical engineer. He worked for Switch Gear and Erection, South Wales Electrical and then Johnson and Philips, which became GEC… (more)

It is indeed an honor, privilege and blessing for me as the President of the Association and on behalf of the members of the Executive Committee to extend a warm welcome to you all to this 22nd Technical Convention of the Association of Municipal Electricity Undertakings of Southern Africa, (AMEU). It is a pleasure to see so many delegates in this warm and friendly city of Port Elizabeth… (more)

I trust and sincerely believe that like my predecessors, I can also rely on the Association of Municipal Electrical Undertakings as an important stakeholder, especially at this time as we grapple with the challenges that the electricity sector faces. I am sure that all of us will agree that the moment is indeed critical. The electricity sector has never been as vulnerable as it is today… (more)

The AMEU was recently approached for comment by the Treasury Department of a member municipality regarding some communication they had apparently received from NERSA. This followed some media reports (radio and internet, at least) on warrants being issued for the arrest of the municipal manager, the mayor and the financial head of Umsobomvu Municipality in Colesberg in the Northern Cape because they apparently ignored a court order prohibiting the practice of disconnecting consumers’ electricity because payments for other services were overdue… (more)

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