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Assisting municipalities in delivering electricity

Over the past decade Pragma Africa has helped enable local government service delivery in South Africa at five metropolitan municipalities; namely Ekurhuleni, City of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, UThungulu and eThekwini.

Pragma’s engagement with each municipality started with either a detailed asset management maturity assessment with the development of an asset management strategy, or an asset identification and verification process with an asset management strategy. The means used to implement this strategy is known as Asset Care Centres (ACC) and has been used in each of these municipalities. The ACC integrates best practice business processes, enabling technologies and people skills into a unified system that delivers infrastructure asset performance at the least sustainable cost and fully contained asset related risks while maintaining an asset register compliant with all public finance regulations.

Key challenges at the Electricity and Energy Department of the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality included the amalgamation of nine previous municipalities and the associated challenges of improving and standardisation of the level of maintenance and refurbishment, personnel skills, technical asset management and operations as examples.

Says Johannes Coetzee, Northern regional manager of Pragma Africa: “We used Pragma’s enterprise asset management system, On Key, as well as Pragma’s Asset Management Improvement Plan (AMIP) to improve performance. This has enabled us to collate accurate asset data, standardised work planning and control procedures and easier decision making based on accurate data. Through improved asset management, we supported Ekurhuleni to invest more than R600 million on the refurbishment of networks over the last three years.”

Says Hannes Roos, director: operations and maintenance, Electricity Division: “Since Pragma established the solid basis of maintenance, planning and asset care via On Key and a dedicated ACC, it ensured best practice and standardisations thereof in our organisation.”

The distribution directorate of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is responsible for the maintenance of and extensions to the distribution network, which includes overhead lines, substations, underground cable networks, high mast lighting and gas turbines.

Challenges facing the directorate included low morale among the workforce, significant manpower shortages, reluctance to accept a formalised computerised maintenance system, seven depots being supported from a central ACC with a slow and unreliable network, and unmaintained multiple asset data bases.

Says Stuart Lubbe, Eastern Cape regional manager of Pragma Africa: “In February 2008 Pragma was engaged to establish an ACC. The initial activity involved the assessment of the department’s asset management maturity. From this assessment an AMIP was developed and implemented. The day-to-day facilitation and delivery of the improvement programme was driven through the ACC which was located at Nelson Mandela Bay municipality head office and staffed by Pragma employees.”

“Having Pragma on board has enabled the Electricity and Energy’s Distribution sub-directorate to improve its ability to carry out scheduled maintenance tasks effectively, thus rendering a more improved service delivery to its customers,” said Carl Hempel, acting director of Distribution.