Top post for City’s electrical engineer
By Tabisa Mntengwana
31 October 2008
BUFFALO City‘s chief electrical engineer Sy Gourrah has been elected president of the Association of Municipal Electricity Undertakings (AMEU).
Gourrah was named to the two-year post this week at AMEU’s 61st annual convention in East London.
The three-day convention at the Regent Hotel saw more than 200 delegates sharing information on various topics including load shedding, the skills shortage in the industry, electricity distribution systems and ways of maximising the potential of energy efficiency.
Gourrah praised the convention as a way for engineers and technicians to share information and take the industry to the next level. It presented an opportunity for stakeholders to build relationships and find ways to focus on energy efficiency.
The value of partnerships amongst the stakeholders, she said, is of utmost importance for the sustainability and transformation of the industry - especially in light of the current shortages of energy and skills.
This year’s theme was The Role of AMEU in the Energy Crisis.
AMEU represents the electricity distribution undertakings of 220 municipalities around the country which supply at least 60 percent of electricity to consumers.
This association is a platform for technicians, electricians and engineers to share knowledge on electricity matters while promoting common causes and supply excellence.
Former president of the association, Sandile Maphumulo, said, “AMEU is proud to serve both communities and municipalities in the greater electricity distribution environment.”
Also amongst guests at the convention was Executive Mayor Zintle Peter, who gave a welcoming address, highlighting the point that electricity has become a great part of our lives. “Gone are those days when electricity was regarded as a domestic luxury [and] when coal and paraffin were the dominant sources of energy for our communities.”
The needs of local government were described by Allyson Lawless, director of the South African Institute of Civil Engineers. “Municipalities need a complete hierarchy of technical staff in order to have ongoing and effective operations and maintenance of energy.”
Engineers and technicians, she added, are the most crucial people in a municipality.
Tackling the challenges and solutions of energy in Mangaung Municipality, engineering executive manager Leon Kritzinger said, “We need to look at other resources such as gas and solar to minimise load shedding and look at other ways of saving electricity.”
The convention culminated with an award ceremony for two categories – best paper presentation and best paper on safety. The best paper award went to Johannesburg City Power managing director Silas Zimu for his look at the challenges and solutions around the provision of electricity in the city. Art van der Merwe, Net Group Solutions senior engineer, won the best safety paper prize for his paper on regulatory imperatives and lessons learnt from other African states.
Next year’s convention will be held at Nelson Mandela Bay.