Located in the eastern plateau area of South Africa known as the Highveld, Johannesburg is country’s largest city by population and the provincial capital of Gauteng, which boasts the largest economy of any metropolitan region in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The economic and financial hub of South Africa, Johannesburg is one of the world’s leading financial centres. Its importance to the country’s success is such that it is responsible for producing up to 16 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product and accounts for as much as 40 percent of Gauteng’s economic activity alone. In a survey conducted in 2007 by MasterCard, Johannesburg ranked 47 out of 50 top cities in the world as a centre of commerce, the only African city to appear on the list.
Responsibility for providing electricity to such an important metropolis rests with City Power Johannesburg, which like the country’s other utilities providers is run on self-funded business lines, receiving no annual grants from the city, providing billable services direct to individual households. In supplying power to such a vast geographical area, City Power has divided the city into seven regions, these being Lenasia, Bryanston, Hursthill, Reuven, Siemert Road, Midrand, Roodepoort, and Alexandra.
It is the company’s core mission to provide the city with a sustainable, affordable, safe and reliable supply of electricity, while also providing prompt and efficient customer service at all times, and undertaking its business in an environmentally acceptable manner. As well as maximising the utilisation of its assets, City Power strives to exceed customer expectations and sustain and grow its revenue base.
Providing everyone with access to electricity is of vital importance to the business and in doing so it hopes to cost effectively meet both national and international standards in electricity supply. City Power is committed to good corporate governance standards and complies in all material respects with the relevant principles of the King II code. Robust systems, policies and practices are in place to ensure that City Power conducts its business in line with global best practice.
City Power's client base is segmented into key customers, large power users, and prepaid, domestic, agricultural and commercial customers, with the domestic segment forming the majority of this customer base. To meet the needs of corporate customers City Power has concentrated on improving the wire network to reduce outages and power surges. Considerable progress has been made in recent years, with 70 percent of its customers now rating the service as good.
For residential customers, and in line with the government's commitment to ensure all South Africans have access to electricity, the introduction of 50 kWh basic free electricity per month in June 2002 has been very well received. In context, this enables a householder to run two 60 W lamps and a TV set for four hours per day for the month and consume just over half the free allocation. This was one of the first-and highest-initiatives in the country and is a considerable benefit to customers in poor communities.
Each and every one of the company’s customers has access to a sophisticated call centre, which manages over 63,000 calls in the peak winter months and provides a single-source service for all queries, applications and payments. City Power also has dedicated customer service managers in all its areas of operation. Regular customer's forums are providing a valuable base for feedback and improved customer service.
Proud to be recognised as a dynamic employer, City Power is focused on providing the best working environment in its industry and operating at consistently high levels of productivity. This has enabled the company to attract the top talent in its field, joining a team of 1,800 employees.
Attractive benefits and leading human resources practices and policies have positioned City Power as a preferred employer. All employees enjoy retirement fund and medical aid benefits, while the new and much-used employee wellness clinic offers primary healthcare and occupational health management in-house, working with leading private healthcare groups.
Furthermore, as a utility provide, City Power has a responsibility to the communities in which it operates to educate customers about the safe use of electricity, the impact of cable and electricity theft and the importance of account payments.
A major component of the company's social responsibility has been the introduction of free basic electricity. City Power has also invested a substantial amount in community empowerment projects in Alexandra, eastern Johannesburg, and a sprawling township that is undergoing a multi-faceted renewal phase. City Power has outsourced certain tasks to companies in Alexandra and supported schools in the area with sports equipment to improve general health and reduce crime. An educational campaign aimed at learners covers electrical safety and prevention of vandalism of electricity equipment.
Written by Will Daynes, research by Robbie Hodgson