Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  08 Sep 2009

ENVIRONMENT: Award For City's Electricity Department


Recent Western Cape Business News

The City of Cape Town’s Electricity Department has won this year’s top prize for managing the most environmentally friendly vehicle fleet in South Africa.

The annual competition is aimed at recognising organisations which have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of their supply chain processes.

"Cape Town’s Electricity Department impressed the judges with its ‘green’ innovations in managing its fleet of 740 vehicles. These range from off-road utility vehicles, sedans, LDVs and panel vans, to light, medium and heavy trucks", says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.

"By implementing a comprehensive maintenance strategy underpinned by ‘green’ solutions, the technical support services team achieved a massive 22% reduction in fuel usage, despite a 9% increase in fleet size," says Justus.

"This was made possible by re-engineering the entire supply chain process from ‘cradle to grave’," says John Esterhuizen, Technical Support Services Manager for the Electricity Department, who accepted the gold medal and trophy, together with Fleet Manager, Willem Janse van Rensburg.

"We started by updating technical specifications for vehicle replacements to international standards and tendered for vehicles which incorporated the most fuel efficient technology.

"Right-sizing principles were applied. A good example was the replacement of heavy ‘knuckle boom’ aerial platforms mounted on seven ton trucks, with lighter, telescopic-type aerial platforms mounted on four ton trucks," says Esterhuizen.

Simple innovations, such as the decision not to repaint all new standard issue white vehicles in yellow, resulted in cost savings of thousands of rands.

"The City also installed a satellite vehicle tracking system, enabling managers to keep tabs on every single vehicle in the fleet and affording extra protection to employees. Particular attention was given to poor driver habits such as harsh acceleration and unnecessary trips.

"A network of vehicle repair companies was also mapped across the entire metropole so that broken down vehicles could be taken to the nearest agent. This helped to minimise vehicle downtime, cut down on excessive mileage and drastically reduced fuel consumption.

"Gas analysers were introduced to ensure the vehicles complied with emission limits. Of the 358 vehicles tested, 95% passed. Those that failed the test were repaired and re-tested," says Esterhuizen.

"We plan to replicate these innovative green practices in the Electricity Department across the City of Cape Town’s entire fleet of 6 000 vehicles," says Justus.

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