City of Cape Town’s AnneMarie Groenewald on AMI and efficiency to ensure a reliable supply

At the 2013 SAP for Utilities event in Huntington Beach, I met up with AnneMarie Groenewald who works for the City of Cape Town’s Electricity Services Department in South Africa. AnneMarie gave a talk at the event about their SAP AMI implementation. I caught up with AnneMarie after her talk and asked her how it benefited the city, especially in light of the rolling blackouts which had been an issue in South Africa in years past.

Here’s a transcription of our conversation:

Tom Raftery: Hey everyone! Welcome to GreenMonk TV, I am here at the SAP for Utilities event in Huntington Beach, I’m with.

AnneMarie Groenewald: AnneMarie Groenewald, I’m from the city of Cape Town in South Africa, I’m the head of the ERP Revenue team looking after the SAP implementation for that part.

Tom Raftery: Okay, so you’ve got a few interesting challenges in South Africa. For years, you’ve been having rolling blackouts and these kinds of things, what are you doing to address such kinds of issues?

AnneMarie Groenewald: It’s because we had those rolling blackouts and we only have one utility company, providing electricity for the whole of South Africa, there’s actually now legislation in place that we must manage the electricity consumption better and we must inform our customers of the electricity consumption.

So now we have implemented SAP AMI solution. It’s automated meter reading interface, it gives the customers, they can login through a web portal where they can see their consumption on a half hourly basis, and it entitles them to manage the electricity better, may be they also decide they want to use the electricity more off peak, so that they can get a better rate as well.

Tom Raftery: Interesting. So you were saying earlier that there is not just the ability for them to see their own information but there is also tariff comparisons that they can do.

AnneMarie Groenewald: Yes, the tariff comparison that they can see their use, most of the electricity or they can swift — using most of the electricity may be at night so that they can have an off peak tariff that is more favorable then during peak hours when everybody is using electricity.

Tom Raftery: And how is that helping with the rolling blackouts?

AnneMarie Groenewald: Well, at the moment, since 2008-2009 rolling blackouts are under control. I don’t think it’s yet because of this implementation but people are just more aware because the governments are also making us a lot of aware publicly of electricity usage.

Tom Raftery: And are there efficiency programs rolled out as well?

AnneMarie Groenewald: Yes, they constantly — there is media releases, that’s on the radio constantly telling people replace your bulbs with bulbs that use less electricity, switch off your geyser during peak hours and that’s how there is public awareness is going out a lot. And I think people are actually adhering into it.

Tom Raftery: Okay and how does this program that you’ve rolled out, how does it compare with the rest of Africa?

AnneMarie Groenewald: At the moment, when we implemented, we are the only one in Africa that implement this AMI solution. There are other municipalities in South Africa looking at it but they are not live yet.

Tom Raftery: And you’ve just rolled out in Cape Town so far, how long before it gets rolled to the rest of South Africa?

AnneMarie Groenewald: That depends on all the other municipalities, because they are all independently. So we’ve done it, at the moment we are only at the large power uses and the big customers, we will still get to the normal households.

Tom Raftery: AnneMarie that’s been great, thanks for talking to us today.

AnneMarie Groenewald: It’s a pleasure, thank you.

City of Cape Town’s AnneMarie Groenewald on AMI and efficiency to ensure a reliable supply