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Case Story Details


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Case Story Title

Improving access to electricity

Case Story Date


Issues Addressed

  • Principle 1 - Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  • Principle 6 - Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
  • Principle 7 - Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Principle 8 - Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

Case Story Category

Partnership Project

Countries of Impact

South Africa

Case Description

Khayelitsha, located in Cape Town, is one of the largest townships in South Africa. Until 1994 the majority of the residents (now more than 1 million) had limited access to electricity. There was social insecurity and poverty. Fires due to the use of paraffin, wood and candles were common and regularly destroyed numerous informal houses.

In 1994, Phambili Nambane was created as a joint venture between Eskom, East Midlands Electricity (UK) and EDF to supply electricity to Khayelitsha. This joint venture was founded on the principles of developing good community relations and educating customers on the most efficient use of electricity. The company also has a commitment to environmental issues and sees them as an integral part of core business.

In 2000, the company was renamed PN Energy Services (Pty) Ltd, offering a broader range of services to the South African electricity sector.The joint venture today, between Eskom and EDF, supplies electricity through prepayment meters to almost 60,000 customers over a surface area of 28,000 hectares.

Raising customer service to the highest levels. Independent audits, conducted by both South African and international appraisers, have scored customer satisfaction in Khayelitsha at consistently high levels.

The number of fires has been dramatically reduced by the introduction of electricity and public lighting has increased security for residents.

Pollutant energy sources have been replaced by electricity. Electrification has important environmental implications from both a natural and socio-economic perspective, as it contributes towards a reduction in domestic coal and wood burning. The supply of electricity can lead to a decrease in the harvesting of firewood with resultant biodiversity benefits, and a decrease in respiratory disease due to the reduction of biomass burning. The relative efficiency of using electricity will reduce the overall emission of pollutants and can lead to an improved quality of life.

Local economic development has been encouraged by both the creation of local vending points and jobs (26 vendors and 34 permanent staff, 30 of whom were previously disadvantaged) (principles 1 and 6). Further, electrification has enabled small business development, extended operating hours, refrigeration as well provided access to modern technology through the use of various appliances.

Enhancing community involvement and capacity building. On energy efficiency advice and solutions, PN Energy Services has a successful record of working with the community and employing local people to educate customers. The staff in Khayalitsha are from the township, the company has established good relationships with local community forums and various training and educational programmes are undertaken periodically at local schools.

PN Energy Services was ISO9002 certified, during 1999, for the entire electricity distribution operation in Khayelitsha.

Non-technical losses have been reduced from 70% to 5 %, through the implementation of processes, procedures and the customer management system employed.



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