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Energy Efficiency remains one of PURA’s main activities especially relating educating consumers on hows to use electricity wisely. Correspondingly since 2008 PURA has launched an extensive campaign using both the media and demonstration projects to reach out to consumers on how they can save on their utility bills by consuming less energy.

Another unique aspect of the electricity sector in The Gambia is that our electricity tariff is amongst the highest in Africa with consumers paying on average about US $ 0.30 /kWh. Furthermore the electricity network in The Gambia was unique in that Network loses were typically high averaging around 25%.

PURA thus took up energy efficiency as key to its strategy in the electricity sector. Helping consumers reduced their energy consumption was a win-win-win solution for the regulator, the utility and consumers.

The Energy Efficiency programme was two fold:

  • Consumer Awareness Programme: Since January 2008, PURA has been producing leaflet, and publish energy saving tips on all national newspapers, city and community radio stations and on the TV.
  • CFL Pilot Project: This project was to demonstrate within a pilot area that consumers can make significant savings by installing energy efficient lighting.

CFL technology offers a cheap alternative to inefficient lighting. CFL bulbs consume about a quarter of the energy of conventions incandescent light bulbs and also last longer, typically up to 3 years (6000hrs).

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Kanifing Estate Demonstration CFL Project

The objectives of the Pilot Project were as follows:

  • Reduce the losses on the low voltage feeders.
  • Reduce the current levels on feeders
  • Advise Consumers on how to save Energy
  • Help Consumers to save energy
  • Provide CFL lamps for consumers to realise Energy savings
  • Reduce the unnecessary loads on the Pilot Transformer Substation
  • Change Consumer Lamps from incandescent to CFL’s
  • Reduce the Voltage drop on the feeders and improve the voltage level at the consumer premises

To implement the Project, the Electricity Engineer at PURA was identified as the Project Team leader. A project Document was prepared and circulated to all stakeholders including the utility, environment agency and government for consultation. Together with utility, the pilot area was identified based on the following criteria:

  • Ease of access
  • Level of overloading on the transformer and circuits

As the project was being implemented during the rainy season, Kanifing South residential area was chosen as the best location and 150 households were selected.

Once the pilot site was agreed on, a Questionnaire was circulated to all the households in the area to obtain baseline data on their monthly consumption, typical household appliances and number of people per household. The meter readers of the utility company were used to conduct the survey as they were already familiar with the target area.

Other data collected before and after the project include;

  • Current load on the circuits,
  • Voltage readings at ends of feeders
  • Kilowatt-hours reading on Meters at Substation and Consumer premises,
  • Monthly bill of consumers

Another challenge was to procure good lamps. A key challenge for PURA and indeed many Gambians was the availability of poor quality CFL lamps costing around US $1.00. On the other hand the good quality lamps from OSRAM or Philips had a retail price of around US $ 5.00 each. Thus after a careful market survey and sample, PURA decided to award the contract to a local electrical company, General Engineering Company. In total 2000 CFL were ordered of which 1500 pieces were 11W lamps by OSRAM and 500 pieces of 14W by Philips.

The project was launched by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Hon Abdou Kolley on the 6th of September 2008. The project was implement over the weekend by about 60 staff of both PURA and the utility NAWEC.

Following the implementation the response from the general public was overwhelmingly positive. PURA continued with the sensitisation campaign and infact the Ministry of Energy, with support from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has infact reacted by asking PURA to assist in scaling the pilot project into a National CFL project to change all the lamps in the country.

The project has been monitored for three months now and the results confirm that consumers’ consumption has infact decreased dramatically in many households as much as 50% of their previous month’s bill.

For the utility company, loses on the network improved dramatically. The Standard for supply voltages in The Gambia is 220-230V, however due to overloaded distribution lines its very typical for consumers to experience low voltages at home. Current reading as well as tail-end voltages on both circuits improved considerably thus improving Quality of Service as well.

The CFL Pilot project was a success that demonstrated the competence of the regulator in initiating a national debate on the way to solve the energy needs of the country. Since its completion PURA has been receiving investors eager to promote energy efficient technologies and last week a company from Holland flew in to promote the use of LED lighting in The Gambia.

Indeed, it serves as an example of how regulators will have to push for the need to bring energy efficiency to the fore of energy regulation but also national debate. Currently in almost all AFUR member countries, huge amount of energy is lost and if saved could contribute to meeting the energy demand of member countries and also promote sustainable development.

Banjul CFL Project

PURA conducted a second CFL project on 16th July 2011 this time at tobacco road in Banjul and this time 1000 CFL lamps were distributed to the neighborhood at the back of Saint Augustine’s high school leading up to the bond road stream. The lamps were distributed free of charge to the residents of the identified area that was carefully chosen in collaboration with NAWEC the national water and electricity company. The area was identified as a poor neighborhood with a poorly distribution network with high losses.

The picture on the right above shows the Lord Mayor of Banjul, Samba Faal installing the first CFL lamp from the project with the Director General of PURA Mr. Abdou Jobe looking on right behind him.  The launching of the project also included the explanation and live demonstration of the benefits CFLs by PURA Electrical Engineer, Mr. Mammusa Campbell.

To help  reduce network losses(36%) and alleviate the impact of high tariffs (US$0.26/kWh) resulting from a mode of generation that is based on fossil fuels, energy efficiency is  a key initiative of the utilities regulator in assisting the sector to have a win-win-win situation for all parties including the regulator, the utility and  consumers.

Key amongst the objectives of the project was the following:

  • Change Consumer Lamps from incandescent to CFL’s
  • Advice Consumers on how to save Energy save money and save our environment.
  • Help Consumers to save energy
  • Provide CFL lamps FREE to consumers to realize Energy savings
  • Reduce the unnecessary loads on the Pilot Transformer Substation
  • Improve the voltage level at the consumer premises
  • Reduce the losses on the low voltage feeders.
  • Reduce load level at the transformer substation
  • Assist NAWEC to improve upon its quality of Service.