Utilities operators should make customer concerns key – Jinapor
Mr John Jinapor, Deputy Minister of Power, has called on Power Utilities Operators to make the concerns of consumers important in their planning if they are to sustain their businesses.
He said proper consumer management, reliable and affordable power supply to customers should also be the symbol of the Power Utilities Operators.
Mr Jinapor was speaking at the closing of the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA) in Accra.
The three-day conference which is the 50th Annual meeting of the Association is being attended by all the 56 members of APUA as well as foreign organizations in the power sector.
This year’s meeting is on the theme: “Energy development through customer management, revenue collection and energy efficiency”, is jointly being hosted by the Volta River Authority (VRA), GRIDCO and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
It is expected that the three-day conference of interaction, brainstorming, consensus building and consultation would come out with a good working document for the entire power sector of the continent.
Mr Jinapor called for the efficient ways of using energy in order to bring the cost down to its barest minimum.
He cited for example that the introduction of LED lights, public education, use of efficient refrigerators and other appliances would go a long way to reduce the cost power and eventually transmit that to the consumers.
He urged the Power Utilities Operators to ensure that more of the underserved communities in the continent were hooked onto the national power grids.
Mr Jinapor also stated though he sides with the introduction clean and renewables energies on the continent, power operators must, however, work to reduce the cost of energy to make it affordable to the large segment population who are poor.
He called on the participants to develop common protocol and synergies to allow the private sector to take active role in the development of the power sector in Africa since governments alone cannot do everything.
He called for the development of procedures and standards to integrate the power systems on the continent in order to share the common resources for their mutual benefit.
Mr Jinapor urged the participants to factor the issue of security in their deliberations and that no country is insulated from security threats in terms of fuels sources needed to power their thermal plants.
He cited for example the vandalism of gas pipelines in Nigeria by militants which he said has affected gas supply to Ghana.
He advised the chief executives of the Power Utilities Operators to do their due diligence before procuring new systems for their organizations.
He said they have had situations where they procure good state-of –the art technologies but they simply do not fit into the local environment.
“In as much as some technologies may look very fantastic, beautiful and modern, I would want to advise we should take local environmental issues and peculiar situation into considerations in deploying those technologies” he added.
Mr Antonion Fernandes Rodrigues Belsa Da Costa, President of APUA, said the Association would continue to promote development and integration of African power systems through network interconnections for the benefit of the people on the continent.
He said exchange of knowledge and experiences among the participants at the conference were important for the development of the power sector in Africa.
He said the conference also afforded the Power Utility Operators an opportunity to identify strategies critical for effective engagement with their customers to improve revenue collection and enhance energy efficiency.