Residential Mass Rollout
1. Objectives of the Projects
The project related to reducing energy usage in the residential sector was initiated by Eskom. The aim of the project was to enable energy savings and reduced peak demand in the residential sector by rolling out a basket of free-issue solutions that focuses on areas of high energy consumption. The technologies included in the basket of solutions were:
- CFL lighting and LED downlighters
- Geyser and Pool Timers that were programmed to switch off between 6 and 8 am and pm during weekdays. There were options to implement other switching patterns on these timers but the 6 to 8 period of switch off was preprogrammed as a default setting that could not be changed.
- Low Flow Showerheads and Flow Restrictors
The project objective was to reduce 80 MW worth of peak load. The demand reduction was calculated on a deemed saving model – the deemed saving method was a Eskom board approved contractual arrangement. Each device rolled out had a deemed saving that was established by Eskom based on prior investigations into these technologies and their usage. Therefore the key requirement from Karebo as a project developer was to get the devices into the intended households in a seamless as possible way. The deemed saving was meant to be a conservative estimate of the potential savings that could be achieved with these installation. Based on these conservative deemed measurement method Karebo eventually achieved 91 MW worth of peak demand reduction at the end of the project. The target market for these installations was in the medium to higher LSM groupings. A key requirment of the project was that the installations had to take place on an appointment basis.
The part of the project that Karebo is entering into the competition is the software system developed to manage this process. The motivation behind the system was the following:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – since we were targeting the medium to higher LSM groups, we knew that internet connectivity and web access was not too much of an issue. Therefore we wanted to create a web portal that would allow customers to register to participate and for the process for appointments and installations to all flow for this process with minimal contact from our contact centres. One of the key features of the web based sign up process was to incorporate a GIS co-ordinate into the request for installation.
- Installation Management and Data Management – since the project had such a wide geographic footprint – we rolled out in the six municipalities of South Africa – we used GIS to ensure that the appointment GIS co-ordinates and the installation GIS co-ordinates matched. This was used with a tablet device that could capture GIS co-ordinates. We also took advantage of the additional features of the tablet to capture data for the installation. Part of the data also contained geo-tagged time stamped photographs taken of the installations in question. We typically only took pictures of the timer installations and not the other items like efficient lights.
- Stock Management – Stock management is a key risk for a project developer and we used this system to track and manage the stock and returns
- General Management Information – the system was also used to track the appointment book, progress of installations and the financial aspect of the project.
Since Mass Rollouts are such a dynamic process, project data changes on a daily basis and it is therefore very difficult to keep track of all the data points if the time stamps are not the same. In a non synchronized system the time stamps are often different and you often cannot make sense of the data until the end of the project. The risk of getting synchronized data only at the end of the project is that you cannot react to change anything then and the result of the project cannot also be altered then. For a project developer that is being paid on actual delivery this is a very big risk. This really was the key driver in the decision to implement this bespoke system.
2. How the Project Makes a Contribution to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Constrained electricity networks is not a uniquely South African problem – it is a growing global problem. Eskom led the way with mass rollouts of CFLs as a way of managing peak demand reduction– of which Karebo played a significant role in developing the framework for that project– and many other utilities around the world have since developed and rolled out similar programs.
Mass rollouts by their very nature tend to involve large numbers of consumer type products that are typically rolled out to various homes over a relatively short period. The key deliverable is to achieve reduced electricity usage and due to the large numbers the M&V model is typically IPMVP Option D – which relies on a reliable data base that is audited on a statistical sample. Based on the audited result from the statistical sample the result of the rollout is then extrapolated to arrive at the final M&V result. Therefore it is of utmost importance that the audit trail for every installation is accurate in every sense. Karebo decided that since the project was being rolled out in established middle to higher income LSM groups, a geotagged data record was the most reliable way to ensure the data trail.
This concept can be used for any number of large scale projects that are being funded by an external funder like Eskom or some other funding agency and typical applications would be solar water heating, PV installations, RMR, Digital Terrestial Television, Census audits etc. The list is only as far as your imagination extends.
Our solution is in line with global trend leaders and covers all of the following aspects:
- Mobile Enablement
- Cloud and Virtualization
- Mobile Business Processes
- Enablement and Transformation
3. List of the Past and Future Actions, deliverables and Milestones of this Project
Below are some of the statistics of this impressive project that this system enabled
- A full bespoke system was put in place that captured a workflow from start to finish
- Entire system resided in a Vodacom hosted Cloud environment
- The system was developed and delivered for use in 8 weeks with us making additions as we went along – that is no mean feat in the IT world.
- A customer facing portal that allowed registrations and synchronized on the back end with the designed workflow
- Enabled 200 000 customer registrations with minimal involvement from the call centre staff
- A CRM system that incorporated emails and SMSs that kept customers informed of appointments and the different stages of the process.
- 450 Samsung Tablets were deployed and used on the field
- Integrity tests were built into the data capturing system that only allowed high integrity data to be passed through the system for a random telephonic audit before being submitted to Eskom for approval
- 180 000 installations were submitted for M&V and all the data was captured and integrity tested through this system
- New customers could be registered from the field as well – also with GIS co-ordinates
- Less than 0.01% of customer complaints
4. Karebo Summary
The criteria set out for judging lists several points of which we believe we tick every single box. Since this is a bespoke system we believe the innovation and best practice application boxes are ticked immediately. We worked very closely with Vodacom on the communications side and in areas that we expected to be business as usual they also struggled but eventually arrived at a solution. This has demonstrated to us the areas still to be mastered in this field. We have also heard that several of our competitors are looking at similar systems. The solution is a definite improvement on the paper based system that was used for similar rollouts in the past. That being said we have learnt that paper is still an integral part of the system and we are happy to share where this fits in as well as several of the other lessons learnt if we are invited to the next stage of adjudication. Since we are restricted to 3 pages we have not included all the lessons and challenges but are rather focusing on the innovation of the system.
These projects are required to be successful to ensure that they are continually rolled out -– this system makes it significantly easier to deliver these results especially if the scale is running into several thousand households. The measured before and after impact is an M&V function and this system aids that process by allowing data with better integrity to be delivered for final analysis. In previous projects addresses for the same street could often be entered in different ways due to spelling errors and different abbreviations be used for street, road and avenue. This system has corrected that and the address is a large part of the data trail.
The value to the business performance is immense with this system. It is designed as an End to End system and allows you to have an accurate time stamped report to evaluate the true picture of the project in real time and at any time.
The acceptance of the sign up process by the customer was very high and at times the system was too efficient – in the sense that customers that were not adequately serviced by our distribution channels had good recourse through constant emails and sms reminders at various stages of the project. We also managed to obtain customer satisfaction data online through all of this process. Below are the actual results from the customers that participated in the survey. We did experience some issues with the actual users of the tablets but none of them were technical issues more acceptable use issues which we have managed to resolve.
We have invested more than R 8 million into this system and are fully committed to further developing its uses. We have a rapidly growing highly skilled IT team that works on this on a daily basis and plan to market this solution into other parts of Africa.
The investment into the system was significant but if you consider that this was a R 400 million project with the more than 75% of the cost being stock and that it is quite easy to lose 2.5% of the stock through stock mismanagement, then the payback of the system was the period of the project. We did have stock losses from some contractors but upon investigation it was found that it was largely due to them trying to operate outside of the system. Those contractors that did use the system had no significant issues and were profitable in their project execution.
We are very proud of this system and believe it is a winner. We hope you think so as well.
6. Some selected screenshots
7. Customer feedback reports
Are you happy with the process ?
Are you happy with the products provided ?
Were you happy with our installation team ?
PROJECT IN ONE SENTENCE
A GIS Based Online Mobile Enabled Cloud Based System that is used to perform mass rollouts in an integrated and efficient manner.