By Carol Koech, Country President, Schneider Electric East Africa

Kenyans will soon see the fallout of the 15% to 20% energy tariff hike which came into effect on 1 April, after the country’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) approved a tariff increase request from electricity supplier Kenya Power.

According to EPRA, Kenya Power’s application for the increase “sought to cover the revenue requirements for meeting both the existing and projected cost of electricity supply.”

Energy is not only expensive but a liability

The question is therefore what can be done to mitigate the impending tariff hike’s impact on Kenya’s citizens? For one, it’s important to acknowledge that energy’s increasing cost will continue to put the economy at risk as it struggles to overcome the resultant financial impact of higher energy costs.

Costs, therefore, need to be controlled, and energy efficiency and savings remain the answer.  Businesses and industry have an important part to play and fortunately, there are today numerous feasible options available that can go a long way in improving efficiency and realising longevity.

Effective power management has emerged as an important enabler of organisational energy efficiency. An integrated power and energy management software platform for example enables organisations to optimise its power distribution infrastructure, maximise operational efficiency, and improve bottom-line performance.

So how does it work? A power and energy management solution analyses and mitigates quality related issues while also tracking and optimising equipment performance.  Importantly, it investigates energy consumption, uncovering potential savings and accurately allocates energy-related costs.

In real-world scenarios, for example, power and energy management software can analyse and isolate the total energy usage from all electrical and piped utilities, identify waste and reduce costs.

Industry savings

Industry is a major user of power; the time is now for these businesses to operationalise and integrate sustainability to become successful resource companies in the future.

However, to realise industries that are energy efficient, concrete steps based on an established sustainability strategy must be taken.  At Schneider Electric we recommend these four important steps:

  • Energy efficiency – reliable and efficient power distribution solutions;
  • Yield improvement – digital-based integrated operations management;
  • Low GHE technology adoption – renewable and microgrid technology; and
  • Green process – green products energy and automation – all part of the circular economy.

We will also see an increased shift by electro-sensitive users towards self-generation options to save costs.

With a strong sustainability strategy in place, industries stand to benefit from considerable efficiency gains. Here, two pillars: the minimisation of resource wastage; and the optimisation of operations management processes through the integration of process and energy management efficiencies play critical roles.

Digital transformation

The key to unlocking business value from digital transformation is to consume less energy without sacrificing productivity or comfort. These two goals, often thought to be contradictory, have come into alignment through the digital transformation of energy management and automation.

Software management tools bring visibility and control over enterprise-wide energy consumption.  For example, before, facility managers were in the dark as to whether lights were getting left on. Now, they can automate lighting, HVAC, and other systems to ensure energy is used only when needed.

This above also benefits utilities as it provides full visibility of their network to mitigate energy losses and improve grid performance.

With a central dashboard, businesses can now easily locate and execute performance enhancements.

Ultimately, taking a number of important steps, local business and industry can establish operations that are based on energy efficiency and sustainability processes and strategies.

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