Eskom turns to Huawei to power smart grid project

Cape Town - South African power utility, Eskom’s joint initiative with Chinese electronics giant Huawei to develop smart grid innovations is expected to deliver energy more efficiently to customers. 

The collaboration aims to accelerate digital transformation in the power industry in South Africa, through the development of Internet of Things solutions, cloud-based technologies and cyber security solutions. 

The partnership was only expected to be officially announced on Wednesday at African Utility Week, currently taking Cape Town; however, since controversial Eskom CEO Brian Molefe skipped the conference, Chairperson Ben Ngubane made the announcement a day earlier. 

At the convention, Eskom announced it would join Huawei's OpenLab located in Johannesburg to jointly develop the smart grid innovations.

READ: Ngubane punts Eskom smart meter deal as Molefe skips conference

Smart grids rely on the infrastructure of traditional grids coupled with cloud computing, BigData, mobile and IoT, to deliver the services more efficiently. 

Sean Maritz, Chief Information Officer of Eskom said on Wednesday, that the utility’s 2030 vision is to implement a smart grid ensuring safe, reliable and energy efficient operations to enhance customers experience. 

“Huawei is an important player in the area of smart grids and we believe that our integrated capabilities will advance innovation and transformation of the power grid,” Maritz said. 

From left: Jerry Ji, President of the Energy Secto

From left: Jerry Ji, President of the Energy Sector of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Anthony Youdeowei, CEO of Nigeria's Ikeja Electric and Eman Liu, Huawei’s President for Enterprise Business Group in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Pic: Kyle Venktess, Fin24)

In a closed briefing session, Eman Liu, Huawei’s President for Enterprise Business Group in Sub-Saharan Africa; Jerry Ji, President of the Energy Sector of Huawei Enterprise Business Group and Johnson Chen, CTO of Energy Industry for the Enterprise Business Group, explained the potential of the new joint initiative. 

“OpenLab will be an important approach enabling us to work closely with local partners to deliver customised solutions in an agile way. Together with Eskom, we can quickly verify new smart grid ideas and efficiently create proof of concepts based on intelligent and connected technology,” Liu said. 

READ: Huawei wants top spot glory in South Africa

Ji said that Huawei had developed major solutions together with partners covering all aspects of the electric power industry and the Power Cloud solution.

“The application of IoT and cloud computing will help power companies enhance operational efficiency and accelerate innovations,” Ji said.

In Nigeria, Huawei helped Ikeja Electric build an advanced metering system with smart meters collecting daily readings sent to a control centre with a 100% success rate.

Also present at the session, was Anthony Youdeowei, CEO of Ikeja Electric, the largest power distribution company in Nigeria.

Youdeowei said that their company and the country had benefited from the installation of smart meters as a result of a smart grid and were now able to track analytics of customers, while offering prepaid options. 

“We have not only improved the efficiency of our operations and management but also promoted the overall intelligent construction of Nigeria's electric power industry and enhanced our international competency", said Youdeowei. 

Huawei have said that they were working on solutions and how best to implement a smart grid into the country. 

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