NuRa in Kwazulu-Natal
In South Africa, FRES delivers energy to households and small companies via the company NuRa.
South Africa (1,219,912 km²) has over 57 million inhabitants, of which 50% live on the brink of poverty, with a very high and increasing level of. of unemployment. The country holds the 113th position on the most recent Human Development Index of the UNDP, and also has one of the highest Gini-Coeffcient’s in the world ( the ratio of the difference between rich and poor).
Despite the highest electrification rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, access is uneven in the country, with rural areas mostly affected by lack of electrification and power cuts.
Access to electricity in South-Africa
Approximately 75% of the inhabitants have access to electricity. In terms of African politics, South Africa has a stable political environment with a well-developed economy, however this development is unequally distributed over the country.
The percentage of households connected to the country’s main electricity supply increased to 84.7% in 2018, according to the General Household Survey released by Stats SA in 2019, an increase from 76.7% in 2002. However, the percentage of households with access to mains electricity actually declined in Gauteng – by 9.5 percentage points – and the Western Cape, by 0.6 percentage points.
Electricity access is least common in Kwa-Zulu Natal at 83.5% (where NuRa is based), North West Province at 83.7% and Gauteng at 77.7%.
Although high- levels of electricity access exist, decline in satisfaction with electricity services over the past eight years has become prevalent, despite the increase in access. Consumers are also still obliged to use multiple sources of energy due to cost and reliability.
Nura in South Africa
The head office of NuRa is located in Mkuze in Kwazulu-Natal, which is one of the most rural and least developed provinces in South Africa. Initially approximately 70% of the population in the region did not have access to electricity, however the situation in the country has changed rapidly as the electricity infrastructure and grid continue to expand.
Over the past few years NuRa had lost a significant number of customers, from a peak of more than 20.000 in 2013/2014 to less than 5.000 in 2019, largely due to the encroachment of the National Grid.. The organization was downsized from 100 to 30 personnel, and the MT was restructured. The number of Energy Stores was also reduced from 9 to 4. Smaller Energy Stores were reduced to Satellite Stores with less personnel.
In April 2019 a formal expression of interest was sent to the NuRa Board from a prospective buyer, to take over the 80% share of Vattenfall in NuRa Energy, with the clearly expressed intention to continue the current activities.
The ‘New’ NuRa will add additional business to the existing activities, focusing on the sales and maintenance of bigger Solar Systems for farms and lodges, and most importantly will continue to provide employment to the employees of NuRa.
With the support from Vattenfall M&A, the sale was successfully negotiated and the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) was signed on 6 February 2020.
Facts & figures
|Shareholders||80% PETOET Holding
|Products and services||SHS|
|Number of customers||18,065 to 5600 in 2019|
|Number of sales points||4|
|Number of employees||30|
|Peter de Wit||Chairman|
|Bart Blokland||Board Member (on behalf of REESET)|
|Peter de Wit||Board Member|
Mr. Sduduze Mathenjwa works in a grocery shop at Emajwayiza. His view on the impact of FRES:
‘Because of the lighting in the shop the period of trading is extended from sunset to 9pm. We can help more customers and make more revenue. Otherwise we would use a generator and candles. Generator costs are high and candles have a low lighting efficacy and pose a greater risk for fires.’
If one considers that there are roughly 7 people per household in Africa, then it can be assumed that FRES facilitated the access of electricity to 140 000 people in South Africa and has paved the way for grid encroachment. In this sense, we can consider it to be mission accomplished!