Residential Mass Rollout Programme (RMR)
Eskom introduced the RMR programme to overcome this challenge by distributing and installing specific pre-approved electricity saving technologies to the residential sector. For this undertaking special installation contractors were selected. Contractors had to be in a robust financial position in order to cover installation works upfront and they had to officially register with Eskom. Such companies were responsible for advertising the programme in certain areas and, if households showed interest in new energy saving technologies, companies would carry out the exchange of equipment guaranteeing the proper installation. Energy savings were ensured by the installation of pre-approved technologies. Companies had to document and report their work to Eskom and were, then, reimbursed by the utility. The technologies which were included in the programme were compact fluorescent lightbulbs, LED downlighters, electric hot water heater insulation blankets, aerated shower heads, load control devises, and pool and/or electric hot water heater timers. Targeted households could participate in the programme at no cost (free issue) but the distributed items were limited to specific products published on a list. For RMR products, where national standards existed these would have to be met, for technology where national standards did not exist, such as LED lights, Eskom would specify minimum requirements and undertake random sampling to confirm and maintain quality. To reduce costs, the vendors would target specific neighbourhoods, having communicated in the press and other media, and go door to door offering to exchange inefficient for efficient technology. Each phase typically ran for six months and targeted 200,000 to 300,000 households. The programme operated in phases, whereby Eskom would put out a Request for Proposal (RfP) for vendors (installers) to submit proposals. Appointed companies could use the RMR-contract to secure funding from financial institutions to pay for products and installation works upfront. Vendors had to demonstrate that the technology met certain minimum performance standards and that their pricing was market related. Priority was given to small black owned enterprises (Polity, 2012). The RMR programme had an overall budget of R1.5 billion (EUR 120 million) and was funded from the overall Eskom “Integrated Demand Side Management Programme (IDM). M&V was conducted by the Eskom audit team and vendors were required to submit documentation, remove inefficient appliances from household for Eskom to inspect on request and conduct random spot checks.
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