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According to PWC, 91% of utility executives in Africa believe the privatisation of the energy industry will create opportunities for them to develop new revenue streams.The consultancy firm adds that 75% of utility executives believe that there is a medium to high probability that the private sector will operate more than half of the continent's total generation infrastructure.

During African Utility Week held in Cape Town last week, Dion Shango, PWC CEO for Southern Africa presented the findings of the survey conducted by the organisation in 2016.

The survey included interviews with some 51 senior utility executives from 15 sub-Saharan countries in Africa and was conducted to highlight factors driving the transformation of the energy sector.

According to the findings of the survey, technological breakthroughs, climate changes and scarcity of resources, demographic changes, shift in economic power and accelerating urbanisation are driving changes in the energy industry.

On the other hand, factors such as customer behaviour, competition, production service models, distribution channels and government policies disrupt the transformation of the energy industry, said Shango.

Despite this, 70% participants of the survey forecasts cost savings and grid efficiency improvements of more than 10% to be achieved, PWC anticipates that by "2025 there will be 600 million people in Africa without electricity."

Power distribution models

Shingo told delegates at the African Utility Week conference that the implementation of green command and control systems such as microgrids, regional super grids and ultra-distributed generation will rise under efforts to improve access to electricity and stabilise grid networks in areas without sufficient energy supply.

83% of utility executives say the mix of large-scale centralised generation with off-grid technology is likely or highly likely the future of the African energy landscape whilst 54% argue that centralised generation will remain dominant. [African Utility Week speaker advises energy providers on the importance of branding].

Taking into consideration the findings of the survey, PWC concluded that:

  • Technology is a key enabler for rural electrification and stability of grid networks
  • Power markets in Africa and globally are transforming
  • The markets of today will be diverse in future
  • Utilities should understand new business models to drive long-term sustainability plans
  • Utility firms should understand their consumers
  • Utilities will become service companies eg smart city service providers

 

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