Is it possible18th Dec 2020
With the way Eskom and various municipalities have been (mis) managing our power and water supply, and other utilities, it is very tempting to go off the grid.
A few years ago, that was seen as an impractical pipe dream but, with improved technology, it is now decidedly possible. However, it’s not that simple, so you need to do some serious pre-planning.
Start at the beginning
There is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done before you even start. Firstly, of course, you will need to get buy-in from the residents and the board. And then you need to implement alternative utility options within any existing infrastructure that may be dependent on the grid supply chain.
This requires a clear understanding of the status quo and the various applications available to establish a sustainable long term project. You can, of course, do this yourself, but it is surprisingly complex, so it is a lot easier to contract a company that has done it before, and knows the ropes.
PEC can make it happen
The first think PEC would do is to conduct a technical investigation of the existing utility infrastructure to create a blue print of the point of departure from which to develop a grid independence programme. A part of this would be to establish what the current demand is, and – by measuring, extrapolating and forecasting – what the future demand is likely to be. This information will be used to determine the capacity of the design.
The PEC team will then draw up a business plan to motivate the potential investment based on the existing supply statistics, and taking into consideration the future cost of supply, grid compliance, products and systems required, regulatory challenges, maintenance requirements, financial modelling, and scope of stakeholder involvement.
The entire process will have to be facilitated by a qualified project team consisting of representatives of the HOA, body corporate and/or board and the independent consultants tasked with the rollout of the project. This will need to be a long-term partnership to ensure continuation of expert support even after the shift of responsibility towards the HOA. It will, of course, place more responsibility on the HOA, but this will be shared with PEC, and it will free the estate management from the necessity of dealing with local councils, Eskom and other utility ‘providers’.