JUBA ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY CONNECTS THOUSANDS MORE TO CITY’S POWER GRID
Juba, South Sudan, October 5, 2020 – The Juba Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO) is forging ahead with plans to power up Juba. Since coming online on November 21, 2019, JEDCO has provided electricity to almost 17,000 customers. By the end of the year, that number should increase by 3,000 more.
JEDCO is dedicated to providing customers with a superior and trouble-free service. The company values its clients and their needs, ensuring all complaints are taken seriously and resolved as quickly as possible. JEDCO is actively looking for ways to reduce the cost of electricity in Juba and has offered a 20% discount for residential and Governmental institutions (about 70% of its clients) since April 2020, to assist during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The electricity roll-out has not been without challenges, and as a result, JEDCO has been subjected to numerous unfounded allegations. To clarify, Juba Electricity Distribution Company Ltd is not a private entity, but a Public–Private Partnership incorporated in accordance with the South Sudan Companies Act, 2012. It is a joint venture company bringing together the Ministry of Energy & Dams (South Sudan Electric Corporation, SSEC) and Ezra Construction & Development Group Ltd (ECDG), holding 48% and 52% of shares, respectively.
The African Development Bank financed the network infrastructure. SMEC consultants provided the engineering design and the Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation & Expansion Project contracted Power China to construct and commission the network. A generation plant was needed to supply electricity to the Power China network. Numerous multinational companies proposed building a power plant, requesting the Government of South Sudan provide a sovereign guarantee. But having worked in South Sudan for many years, ECDG agreed to build the 100 MW Power Plant in Phases at its own cost without a sovereign guarantee. ECDG therefore established a partnership with SSEC, creating a Joint Venture to distribute electricity to end users.
JEDCO’s initial plan to reach 30,000 customers has been delayed due to limitations of the distribution network infrastructure. There are many areas in the city that are not yet on the grid. JEDCO was also unable to connect customers while a proper material reconciliation was being done, with COVID-19 and travel restrictions also delaying work. The company has to date connected 16,861 customers – 11,990 residential customers, 4,481 commercial customers, 240 Governmental institutions and 150 large industrial customers. These numbers dispel claims that the company favours big clients.
While there have been delays in connecting customers, electricity is back in Juba after many years. Every day, JEDCO receives up to 100 applications for meters and power connections. In order to meet this demand, and with the company following correct procedures, it takes approximately 2 weeks to connect a customer. The 3-month hand-over process from Power China has also delayed connections. The company has been trying to clear the back log of applications. Fortunately, the waiting period will soon reduce significantly, as the number of applications decline.
There are also misconceptions that the power grid is unsafe. The network is completely reliable and safe, but illegal connections and illegal pole planting have become problems in the last 5 months. Customers are paying unknown individuals for illegal connections. These and the pole planting are of inferior quality, so when it rains, the poles fall, making the network unsafe. All JEDCO meters are tested to IEC standards, which have the following mechanical requirements – shock test, spring hammer test, vibration test, ingress protection, resistance to heat and fire. Technical failure might occur due to illegal meter connections which cause overload and/or loose live connections. Illegal activities need to be reported to the JEDCO office to ensure safe and high-quality network infrastructure.
Another incorrect perception is that JEDCO randomly and arbitrarily decides what it charges customers for electricity. The tariffs have been set by the Government of South Sudan, included in the Ministerial Circular No. 02/2017.
Phase 1 of the African Development Bank project did not cover all of Juba. In areas without easy access to the grid, JEDCO needs to expand the network, often just to service one customer. That customer therefore needs to be willing to pay for the cost of the expansion. This can be very expensive, depending on how far the customer is from the grid. The scope of work will include expanding the network to the customer’s premises, using poles, cables and other equipment. This is the situation with the well-publicised case of Advocate Kiir Chol. Connecting Chol’s apartment to the grid requires 11 poles, 335 meters of Medium Voltage cable, another 20 meters of cable, and a 100KVA transformer with accessories. The cost of this infrastructure is US$22,192. In contrast, a drop connection for customers in the network areas can cost as low as 23,000 SSP.
On October 1, 2020, the Directorate of Business Registrations at the Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs dismissed all Chol’s complaints against JEDCO.
The 2nd Phase for expansion of network infrastructure will hopefully cover the remaining areas in Juba, making grid connections there more affordable.
JEDCO has been operating streetlights without payment from November 21, 2019. To date no party is taking responsibility for this payment.
If customers experience any problems with electricity supplies, JEDCO has an accessible and reliable customer care centre to deal with any complaints.
This is available on the following numbers:
+211 92 400 3700 – +211 92 400 3701 – +211 92 400 3702 – +211 92 400 3703 – +211 92 400 3704
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/JEDCOJuba