Africa Needs to Focus More on Electricity Access

While a great deal of focus is being placed on energy security, more should be done to improve Africa’s low electricity access levels.
Published: Mon 14 Jul 2014

South African-based business, Restio Energy, focuses on the low income household market’s energy needs. The company has been working on electricity access since 2001 after getting involved in the concession program which was developed by the Department of Energy.

Access and sustainability

The firm’s aim is to develop access and deliver sustainable energy sources to as many people as possible. Is all about getting the technology to people in a sustainable way, explains Wikus Kruger-Senior Consultant, Restio Energy, who spoke to Engerati at the African Utility Week.

The firm delivers small-scale household level energy sources such as clean burning wood and charcoal stoves. The “business in a box kit” not only provides people with low cost and sustainable energy solutions such as a solar panel and lithium ion battery for instance, it also gives entrepreneurs a chance to succeed. A barber kit for instance, contains materials such as lights, clippers, and a phone charger. “This is what people really need and we are responding to them.”

“There doesn’t seem to be enough focus on growing electricity access in Africa. This is what we have decided to work on.”

The sale of the equipment is all about high volumes and low margins. Says Kruger of the equipments’ affordability, “Costs are kept low so that as many people as possible have access to the product.”

Meeting standards

There still seems to be a lot of mistrust in solar products as a result of experiences with poor quality products in the past, says Kruger. For this reason, Restio Energy is working in accordance with the World Bank’s “Lighting Africa” project which has technical standards. The company aims to meet those standards.