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P ower t o t h e P e o p l e

Edison Power Gauteng has been providing electrical installation services to the South African market for five years. Jane Bordenave talks to founding Managing Director Bazil Govender about the challenges and opportunities facing his company


Edison Power Gauteng FEATURE


ounded in 2005 by Managing Director Bazil Govender, Edison Power Gauteng is one of South Africa’s major players in electrical installation. Working on a wide range of industrial and commercial projects, the company handles on average ZAR 650m worth of projects at any given time. In addition to its work in South Africa, the company also works in neighbouring countries, such as Swaziland and Zambia. Edison Power Gauteng is committed to the quality of its work, providing a good service and delivering projects both on time and within budget. “We have a dedicated programme to ensure we stay within budget,” says Mr Govender, “As soon as we are awarded a tender, we set out to procure all the materials, especially those that are copper based. By taking this approach, we are able to hand over the completed project on time and within budget.” With the volatile nature of the copper markets, this is an approach that makes strong business sense, “being able to buy these raw materials upfront, as we do, is of enormous benefit, as then project budgets are not susceptible to price changes in the market,” he explains. Additionally there is the global problem of copper theft due to current high value of the material, “it’s an unfortunate occurrence, and something that we have been subject to in the past. However, now we have arranged with our suppliers to keep the copper at their facility once we have bought it, to minimise risk of theft.” With the firm working on such a range of projects, from hotels to mines, it is experienced in addressing the different requirements and challenges each project can throw up. “When you look at a shopping centre, for example, one of the most important things, aside from standard safety practices, is to ensure that all the electrical wiring and peripherals are completely out of site and reach of any members of the


Edison Power Gauteng FEATURE

public who are in the building,” explains Mr Govender, “When dealing with industrial sites, access requirements are different, and other sets of project-specific health and safety regulations come into play.” One of the hurdles that such industrial projects have thrown up is when Edison Power Gauteng was working on a smelter plant in Richards Bay, “The design for the plant was actually a German one, so we had to look at these specifications and work out how to make them fit to the South African market. It was a challenge, but by working with everyone on site we were able to make it work.” Most recently, the company has been involved in one of the most exciting events to take place in Africa for years, “Of course, the main story in South at the moment is the World Cup,” says Mr Govender, “We were fortunate enough to win a tender for two of the major stadiums – Orlando Stadium and Soccer city, both in Soweto.” While there was competition for the contract, once again Edison Power Gauteng’s reputation for excellence preceded it, with the company being recommended to the organisation committee by previous clients.


As well as focussing on delivering excellence for to the client, the business is also heavily involved with corporate and social responsibility initiatives, “In 2010 we have been working in the educational sector, installing computer rooms in rural schools. The year before we were working on medical projects and before that it was sports,” Explains Mr Govender, “At the end of the financial year in June the board will meet and during these discussions we will decide where we will focus our CSR efforts for 2011.” The company also invests in the welfare and upskilling of its own people, “we are very enthusiastic about apprenticeships and having apprentices working at Edison Power Gauteng is an important part of our business,” says Mr Govender. For those who have already completed an apprenticeship, the firm also ensures that they have access to up-to-date skills training and that those at management level attend short courses in their field. There are some projects that require workers to have specific training, such as banking, where those on site need to have some basic understanding of how the sector works in order to be able to deliver the highest quality and most efficient finished project. The new area for training and specialisation now is green technology – while it has been simmering away under the surface for a while, it is now really starting to push through. “Increasingly we are wiring up photovoltaic panels being installed on the

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ABSA’s choice of installing 4 x 2.9 MW natural gas powered generating sets in the new “Towers West” complex is the first of its kind in the financial sector in the R.S.A. The installation to be supplied, installed and maintained by Diesel Electric Services Pty Ltd, is expandible to 8 units operating in parallel, amounting to a future total output of 23 MW. The gas powered generator sets chosen by ABSA produce less than half the carbon dioxide per kWh than the coal fired power stations predominately providing our country with electricity. In addition, waste heat recovery from the gas generators will be used for heating and cooling of the new and adjacent complexes using specialised conversion processes, further enhancing the reduction of CO2. The gas power generation and heat recovery station is designed to operate in parallel with City Power to reduce the demand of the ABSA Towers Complex during peak periods, as well as provide stand by power during power outages, while allowing ABSA to contribute to the global policy of energy efficiency and reduced emissions. Diesel Electric Services Pty Ltd has supplied, installed and maintained power generation products for ABSA country wide over the last 16 years, with the energy centre being the biggest project by DES for ABSA to date. Other DES products include Rotary UPS, Static UPS, Diesel Generators, Bio-gas generators, MV and LV solutions, SABS/Netfa type tested LV Distribution boards, Hybrid power for Telecoms applications, service and rebuilds. The staff complement is over 400 in JHB, which includes 20 Contracts Engineers, 35 service personnel and 18 installation teams. Tel: 086 110 6633 Fax: (011) 493 0282 Email: Website:

Edison Power Gauteng FEATURE

roofs of buildings and taking into account other sustainability issues,” he says, “New equipment that is more environmentally friendly is slowly starting to emerge too, as well as safer, easier to handle more ‘human friendly’ tools and equipment that we have already invested in.” While increased efficiency end environmental requirements and developments are clearly things that are already on the table, what else does Mr Govender foresee for the company? “We will still be constantly striving to provide our clients with the best quality service, with on time, on budget delivery. We’ll also be looking to broaden our horizons with a view to selling our own power, as

well as doing electrical installation.” While the need and desire for electricity is only likely to increase, the way that we produce and consume this commodity is changing. By familiarising itself with the green energy market as it stands and seeking to position itself as a provider of electricity, the company is already well on the way to cornering a new market. The method it uses to overcome volatile market forces enables it to pass on savings, both in terms of time and money, to its customers. It is this type of innovative approach that makes Edison Power Gauteng one of South Africa’s largest and most preeminent providers of electrical installation and a strategy that will help to keep it there in times to come. END

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