BEE NEWCOMER TO THE SA ENERGY MARKET WINS INNOVATION AWARD

An empowerment newcomer to the South African bottled gas market has been recognized by the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) with an award for its “significant contribution”, to the energy environment.

This year’s winner of the SANEA ENERGY PROJECT AWARD 2013, KayaGas (Pty) Limited, is Western Cape-based but expanding rapidly into other provinces. It has become well-known for its bold and innovative safety approach to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distribution in informal settlements.

The company is also known for taking on the established LPG distributors when it believes it is being unfairly prevented from trading.

Two legal cases were brought before the courts recently: one against Afrox for its alleged attempt to prevent KayaGAS from supplying LPG more cheaply to a former Afrox customer; the other against the Cape Town City Council for allegedly trying to stop KayaGAS from supplying LPG to informal settlement dwellers and also refusing to recognize that KayaGAS LPG storage methods are proven to be fire-proof.

This innovative approach to business and its attempts to bring cheaper, safer and cleaner energy to the poor is the prime reason for KayaGAS’s SANEA award which was accepted by the KayaGAS managing director, George Tatham, at a ceremony this month (August 2013) in Johannesburg.

Commenting on the criteria for the award, a SANEA spokesperson said it was given for leadership, innovation, being a role model, having visionary qualities, attracting international recognition and having an impact on South Africa.

Asked why he thought the award was deserved, George Tatham said: “I think it was because we have had to overcome so many challenges in getting clean, safe and affordable energy to the lowest income homes.

“Our distribution system is also unique in that it makes 5kg cylinders of LP gas available in informal settlements so that householders don’t have to travel more than 500m to buy gas.

“Another factor the award recognizes is our development of an LPG cylinder with a pressure valve that prevents it from exploding when engulfed by fire – a safety feature now incorporated in national standards”, Tatham said.

“KayaGAS sells high-quality appliances at significantly lower costs of others on the market. We now reach 150 000 low-income homes in Cape Town and we have proved that LPG can be provided at less than the cost of paraffin which is a dirty, unhealthy and inefficient fuel in comparison.

“Lastly, by making LPG more widely available some 40MW on peak electricity demand in Cape Town has been saved,” Tatham said.

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