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Currently Africa represents only 3% of global electrical consumption

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Exclusive interview with Rick St. John, Regional Director South Africa Region, Lucy Switchgear – a long-time supporter of African Utility Week and a silver sponsor at this year’s event.

Rick St John

What are you most excited about currently in terms of Lucy Switchgear products and solutions?
This year we plan to launch a new generation of ring main units at the exhibition, to add to our large range of ground mounted and pole mounted switchgear for the secondary power distribution market.

Specifically designed to comply with South African requirements, the new Aegis 24 kV secondary distribution ring main units have vacuum circuit breakers insulated with SF6 gas in a hermetically sealed, stainless steel tank, ensuring reliability, safety and virtually maintenance-free operation. The range can be fitted with electronic relays or time limit fuses (TLF) for protection and each unit can be tailored with a number of options according to customers’ needs.

With the addition of our automation solutions, which provide a range of automation building blocks, from retrofit equipment to a complete turnkey solution, the company is ready to meet the diverse and ever growing needs of the South African power distribution market.

What is on the calendar for Lucy Switchgear in 2013?
We are developing a number of exciting products, which use cutting edge technology, to grow our product ranges in ring main units, overhead distribution switchgear, remote terminal units (RTU) for remote operation and control and SCADA automation software, to meet the changing needs of the global marketplace.
We are also expanding our training and consultancy offering to support companies during project planning and implementation, and offer dedicated after sales support throughout the product lifecycle.

What opportunities do you see in Africa?
Currently Africa represents only 3% of global electrical consumption, but by 2020 electrical consumption in Africa will have increased by 60%. Increases in population density in cities and developments in infrastructure and industries will drive demand for electric power. This will represent a huge opportunity for companies that provide products and services to the electrical distribution and supply industry and we anticipate a significant increase in the demand for switchgear products.

What do you think makes Lucy Switchgear competitive in this market?  

Lucy Switchgear is a global leader in medium voltage, secondary distribution solutions, with over 100 years’ industry experience in engineering brilliant solutions for our customers. We design cost effective, safe and reliable products and solutions which meet our customers’ requirements.

Our global presence means we are able to support customers in markets across the world but alongside this we have also maintained our flexibility to work with customers, listening and responding to their needs. Our highly skilled engineers can customise products using cutting edge technology and our consultants can provide advice and support before during and after projects.

What do you think are the biggest challenges to the South African/African energy/water market?
As with most African countries, a shortfall of electrical generation capacity due to lack of investment is delaying the growth of markets.

Why did you decide to become a sponsor of African Utility Week?
African Utility Week is the largest conference in Africa with most countries sending delegates, therefore being a sponsor is essential for exposure to the electrical utility companies attending.
We see Africa as a key growth market for Lucy Switchgear and we are committed to developing our business in the region. We are investing in new products that meet the specific needs of the marketplace and expanding our consultancy offering to support companies during project planning and implementation. We also offer training from our experienced technicians and dedicated after sales support throughout the product lifecycle.