Energy in rural areas
Integrated Energy Centres
A new approach of the government is to grant solar concessions to private consortia in order to provide energy services in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. In recognising the limitations of the use of electricity alone, this new model promotes a mix of fuels when addressing energy poverty.
Totalgaz and TotalEnergies have adopted this strategy and are currently supplying gas to the following energy centres:
- Kgalagadi Integrated Energy Centre, located at Dithakong, a cluster of nine villages in the Northern Cape.
- Caba Mdeni, situated in Maluti, about 25 km from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.
- Eshane Integrated Energy Centre, located in the Natal Midlands Kwa-Zulu Natal.
This strategy has been conceived and developed towards providing a ‘basket’ of services rather than focusing exclusively on electricity.
The package of energy services in these centres is made up of:
- LPG (9, 12, 14, 19, 48 kg cylinders, as well as Shesha)
- Prepaid electricity cards
- Cell phone and Telkom airtime vouchers.
NuRa: Nuon and RAPS
The Eskom electrification drive in 1990 saw 2.5 million households electrified, some of them in rural areas. However, there was an imbalance as most households in the remote rural areas were not reached. These areas then formed the focus of the government’s off-grid programme where subsidies would be made available to private companies that successfully tendered for the right to supply off-grid energy services to rural households.
NuRa, a joint venture between NUON (a Dutch utility) and RAPS, supplies solar electricity kits to rural homes under a government-sponsored scheme. These kits are serviced by a network of rural energy stores close to the communities that also sell other energy products.
Each NuRa store is supplied with LP gas by Totalgaz, with the intention of providing a complete energy service package, selling not only core materials but also relevant gas appliances directly to the public.
The primary goal of both Totalgaz and Nura is to educate communities on new energy sources, and also to improve safety by ensuring that all previously-used energy products are made as safe as possible.
Furthermore, franchising different stores is facilitated by training community managers in basic business principles. This therefore not only makes the project a development scheme but also a sustainable programme.