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Power industry heroes rewarded at African Utility Week

24 February 2010 – On the eve of Nersa announcement, Dipuo says government not in favour of rapid rates increases

The CEO of Zimbabwe’s electricity utility, Zesa (Zimbabwe Electric Supply Authority), Engineer Benjamin Rafemoyo, was named the Utility CEO of the Year at this year’s African Utility Week in Durban.  Some 1700 power professionals from over 50 countries descended on Durban for the 10th event, the largest utility event on the continent.  

The editor of power trade journal ESI Africa, Nicholas McDiarmid, said at the awards ceremony during the opening session, that Engineer Rafemoyo has had a formidable job managing a utility that has been hit hard by Zimbabwe’s challenges. “Apart from losing almost 70% if its professional staff to the diaspora, its tariffs were of exceedingly low value – yet through all this, our winner has managed through creativity, ingenuity and tenacity to sustain high levels of reliability with circumstantially low levels of load shedding by striking clever deals with the likes of Nampower and ensuring ongoing imports from neighbouring countries,” said Nicholas McDiarmid.

Other industry prizes that were awarded:
The 6th Power Station Manager of the Year Award was won by Christo van Niekerk of Matimba Power Station.

ESI Africa Excellence Awards:

  • Best Metering Company:  Conlog    
  • Best Consultant:  Kwezi V3    
  • Best Service Provider:  CBI African Cables    
  • Best Equipment Supplier:  Beka   

The Metering International Award honoured the most innovative implementation of a revenue protection programme in an African utility: Conlog won for their Khayelitsha Revenue Protection Project.

Nersa announcement
On the eve of the Nersa announcement on electricity price increases expected on Wednesday, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said during Tuesday’s African Utility Week and Power Indaba opening ceremony that there was an estimated R27-billion backlog in the maintenance of the distribution network.

"While the Department of Energy is not in favour of rapid increases in rates, there is a need to invest in power stations and we need to reassure those that don’t have electricity that they will be connected," she said.

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