Friday
Nov112011

Cosatu to lay charges against Cape Town’s leaders for trying to kill cable thieves

An article found on www.defenceweb.co.za reports on a bizarre case involving Cosatu laying charges against the leaders of Cape Town for “trying to kill copper thieves”.

The article states that Cosatu will report Deputy Mayor Alderman Ian Neilson to the Public Service Commission and the Human Rights Commission for his plans to electrocute copper cable thieves.

According to the article Cosatu claims that the City of Cape Town’s policy of leaving the electricity on during the day, i.e streetlights, is clearly an intention to electrocute copper cable thieves.

Deputy Mayor, Ian Neilson says the city rejects Cosatu's comments “with contempt”.

He adds that the matter of cable theft is taken very seriously.

“Leaving street lights on during the day is not standard practise. It is a last resort measure to deter thieves, and is only employed in areas where the city has experienced high incidents of cable theft.”

To continue reading the full article please click here:
http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20847:cape-town-killing-cable-thieves&catid=3:Civil%20Security&Itemid=113

Friday
Nov112011

Warning against illegal water connections

Johannesburg Water has warned that repeated illegal water connections will result in the prosecution of the offender.

Johannesburg Water spokesperson, Baldwin Matsimela, said that the department was currently implementing the infrastructure upgrade programme in various areas across the city with the Greater Soweto area being part of the beneficiaries of the programme.

"Johannesburg Water has taken a decision to revisit properties in Soweto, mainly in areas where Operation Gcinamanzi was implemented to address leaks and or rectify illegal connections or meter by-passes.

"The focus is mainly on property intervention to fix leaks on all plumbing fixtures, upgrade the prepaid water meters to include Automated Meter Reading and trickle flow functions. Furthermore, secondary water mains as well as yard connections that are leaking will equally be upgraded," Matsimela explained.

He said when revisiting those customers that have by-passed meters and/or vandalized meters or illegally connected their homes to the system, home owners will first be given amnesty and Johannesburg Water will fix the leaks and replace all the vandalized meters at no cost to customers.

However, Matsimela warned that once the property has been revisited to fix leaks and meters are upgraded or new meters are installed, Johannesburg Water will enforce by-laws to offenders, which could lead to prosecution.

All customers who have tampered with the pipe network of water supply through the meter will be dealt with by the law.

"Customers identified to have by-passed water meters will be served with notices to rectify the by-pass and report to any of the City of Joburg's People Centres closer to them within seven days from the date on which the notice was issued.

"A fee of R1 515 31 will be levied against the customers in the case where a meter is still in a working condition or R3 053 67 where a meter is not in working condition, Johannesburg Water will then reinstate and rectify the by-pass but customers will be expected to produce proof of payment before technicians could reinstate the by- pass.

"Customers who do not respond within the seven days' notice period will have the illegal water supply terminated by cutting out the supply. If a customer chooses to have the supply restored, a reconnection charge of R3 053 67 will have to be paid prior to restoration of the water supply," Matsimela said.

Reported by: South African Government News Service

Tuesday
Sep062011

Message from the SARPA President

I would like to thank everyone who attended the SARPA Convention in Polokwane. Because of “ You! ” it was a success.

Special thanks to Mr. Malesela Lelaka who is now the immediate past president and the SARPA executive members for their leadership and who worked very hard the last two years to get SARPA where it is today. Special thanks to all our Affiliates, Sponsors and Presenters for your special contributions in making our Polokwane Convention a great success. You also are highly appreciated by SARPA.

I would like to challenge the Branch Chairpersons to get all our members involved and have regular meetings that include the Financial Revenue Income and Water people as well. All the people attending the different branch meetings are our Ambassadors to get all the stakeholders at our branch meetings which include the different Departments of Water Affairs and our ESKOM Members to actively participate and make a difference at their places of work.

I would like to reaffirm my Strategic Focus and Goals for the next two years. Firstly, it is the SARPA REVENUE RECOVERY PROJECT where we would like to assist and capacitate all our municipalities as to reduce their losses in water and electricity. Ensuring the best Income possible to municipalities which will assist them to deliver sustainable service to their communities at large. Secondly, get more involved in TARRIFS for Water and Electricity because it is;

  • Expensive and have become a Grudge purchase
  • Customers are paying for losses
  • Bad Management and productivity
  • Customers are paying for Capital Expansions
  • Customers needs to get a say in price determination

Thirdly, Copper and Metal Theft. We need to get the NFMCC- Non-Ferrous and Metal Crime Combating Units working with the assistance of Business Against Crime in all provinces and in all areas, towns and cities. The Gautrain Issue with the losses of electrical cables to supply electricity is a common phenomenon in South Africa which needs to be eradicated.

Lastly and most importantly, we need to grow SARPA and broaden our Footprint in our Industry, which includes;

  • SARPA Branches
  • ESKOM
  • DWAF and WISA ( DWA )
  • IMFO
  • PIESA 
  • NEIGHBORING STATES AND INTERNATIONALLY
  • AFFILIATE SARPA MEMBERS

I trust and believe in all our members to make a difference where they work for the furtherance of our Industry and our Country. One person can make a Difference!

Thank you all!

William Olivier
Electrical S. B. U. / SARPA President
Electrical Engineer / MBA @  PU-CHE

Tuesday
Sep062011

SARPA conducts revenue protection training workshop in Namibia

SARPA was invited by Erongored in Walvisbay, Namibia to conduct a revenue protection training workshop for their members and also to advise the Executive regarding revenue protection issues and how to compile a revenue protection action plan.

SARPA Technical Advisor, Rens Bindeman, conducted training workshops in Walvisbay with about 40 delegates in attendance over the two sessions. Delegates enjoyed the interaction and several “Champions” were identified that could contribute a great deal with future revenue protection exercises in the Utility.

Different auditing methods tamper detection techniques, the task of a Revenue Loss Forum and data management processes were issues which attracted a lot of discussion.

During the Management feedback session the recommendations on the “way ahead” was highlighted as follows: -

  1. Compile a revenue protection action plan from information obtained from SARPA.
  2. Establish a Revenue Loss Forum as soon as possible to ensure the correct implementation of the action plan 
  3. Appoint a Revenue Protection Manager to coordinate all revenue protection actions in the different towns
  4. Perform target audits from “low / zero usage” data reports.
  5. Join SARPA and assist in establishing a Namibian branch.

On request from the Executive, all the relevant revenue protection guidelines and policies were sent to Erongored, in order for them to implement their initiatives. More information regarding metering solutions, which could assist in, minimizing losses were also forwarded on the CEO’s request.

SARPA would like to invite any Utility which needs the same type of interaction to contact the SARPA Secretariat or The Technical Advisor at rens@mweb.co.za

Rens Bindeman
Technical Advisor

Tuesday
Sep062011

SARPA shares information with Central American Utilities

SARPA has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and taking into account the fact that SARPA members are being invited to speak at international events, proves the point that we are seen as one of the leading Revenue Protection Associations in the world.

However, in order to maintain this distinction, we would need to be seen participating even more in the global arena.

The IURPA representative Mr. Michaeli, who delivered the keynote speech at our Convention in Polokwane, said that we needed to expand our vision and become a “world leader” in this regard. We therefore need to take part in more major revenue loss management events and in general supply guidance with regard to Energy theft and non-ferrous theft as far and as wide as possible. Here I would like to point out the fact “that you don’t just get respect, but have to earn it”.

It is therefore about time that we realize that we have a very important role to play in the international arena with regard to economical crimes like “electricity theft” and “non-ferrous thefts”. The processes, guidelines and strategies which we have developed in Southern Africa are well advanced compared to those in most other parts of the globe and therefore there is surely a need to share these with the other role players abroad.

Last year I seized an opportunity to share information by writing an article in the IURPA falls newsletter regarding the SARPA’s Revenue Recovery Project. This article sparked a keen interest in SARPA’s initiatives and several organisations and individuals contacted us for more information. It was soon clear that this was a “world first” for Revenue Protection organisations and Associations worldwide.

Our fortune also changed when we received an invitation to take part in the Metering Central American Conference in Mexico City in May this year. After interacting with the organisers, we decided to volunteer to present a workshop as well, in exchange for them covering all the costs.

As this suggestion was accepted, we were requested to firstly do a presentation at the Water forum on water restriction devices and best practices in the Southern African environment with regard to the minimizing of revenue losses and managing of non revenue water. Secondly, we were tasked to conduct a workshop at the Electricity forum regarding Demand Meter Management principles, the expected effect of smart metering on revenue loss management processes and the integration of advanced metering devices, meter reading, data management and billing systems in order to effectively minimize losses.

After finalising the requirements, it was difficult to decide what level of information we should actually be sharing with the participants from Central America. I have learned from previous experiences at other Conventions abroad, especially when there is a language barrier as well, that revenue protection processes can be very confusing to people who are not familiar with the concept.

The other problem is the fact that it is not practical to discuss issues that are not pertinent to the region, like prepaid meters. So I decided that we should first understand what problems they currently face and then present some simple solutions to each of those.  We therefore had our work cut out to do some research and in the end managed to develop two presentations which I thought would work and then set off on my “information sharing mission to Mexico”

However, after attending the first day of the Conference, it was clear that there had to be adjustments made to the water presentation. It was clear that there was no need to share processes as everyone was already very aware of what processes needed to be followed as smart water meters had already been installed in many areas. We chose to focus on best practices and shared some operational issues and did not go into much detail with regard to processes, policy and the laws.

After the presentation at the Water Forum, some Mexican delegates told me that we had really opened their eyes on how to minimize revenue losses and that they never knew other countries had the same problems they have and applauded our wonderful initiatives in this regard.

What I learned from the experience was the fact that Central America has many similar problems to us, but that they currently don’t know what to call it. The term Revenue Protection is quite unfamiliar to them and each Utility currently resorts to all kinds of different methods of trying to determine ways and means of countering the ever-increasing losses.

It seems some of the similarities are for example issues like tampering, illegal connections, dangerous areas to perform remedial actions and lots of faulty metering. The differences however to our African experience are that all the utilities are frustrated by the losses, but do not seem to have the structures and processes in place to deal with the issues as we do. The losses on the water environment are as high as in Africa, but it seems on average the Electricity losses are higher than what we are experiencing locally. It also seems that the metering aspects e.g. faulty meters and non-payment are the biggest culprits. This could also be contributed by the fact that there are currently very few prepaid meters been utilized in these utilities.

After conducting the presentation at the Water forum and experiencing the reaction of the delegates afterwards, it was quite simple to prepare a workshop session that has a “wow factor”. I decided to really pull all my training gadgets out of the hat and coached my co-presenter to do the “walk around thing” while presenting. It worked because he and the audience seemed to have a wonderful time. I also seemed to master the art of making funny remarks and then allowing just enough time, so that the translator can finish. I was told afterwards that she giggled so much when I told the piece about ghost meters and vending that she struggled to get the words out.

The success of the SARPA presentation was very apparent, as several delegates congratulated the facilitators on the excellent presentations and many questions were asked regarding revenue protection issues. The most valuable part of the experience was, however, when the organisers of the event immediately after the workshop conveyed an invitation to the SARPA representative to again take part in similar sessions at the next Metering Conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil in October 2011.

Appreciation
I would first of all like to use the opportunity to thank Tom Phillips and Yolanda San Juan from Conlog for their assistance to SARPA and the opportunity for me to use their stand as a base to engage with participants.

Also to Spintelligent / Clarion and especially Mr. Adriano Rheeder, who has put his faith in us to deliver the goods and sponsoring the traveling and accommodation of the SARPA representative.

Last but not least, to the SARPA Executive for authorising this venture and the openness of mind to see the value of actively engaging with other Utility role-players and in the process share information with regard to revenue protection. This information will be shared in future bulletins and role-players identified during this experience have already indicated that they would like to attend future SARPA and other African Conventions, as they can see that they will be able to learn a lot from our experiences.

Rens Bindeman
Technical Advisor

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