Africa has a population of 1.2 billion people, yet 50% of these have no access to electricity. In rural areas far from the national electricity networks, this figure can be as high as 82% of the population, or more than 600 million people. It is therefore vital that electricity is installed in these regions.
Even so, local residents suffering from this issue spend $17 billion a year on candles, lamps, and on recharging their mobile phones. The energy needs of the population are therefore very real.
Facing this situation head on, Orange launched its Orange Energy service in December 2017 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and extended it to Madagascar in February 2018, then to Burkina Faso, as well as to Senegal, Mali, and Côte d’Ivoire in June, and will soon be bringing it to Conakry in Guinea. The objective is to provide access to solar energy in rural areas or in cities where the quality of service provided by electricity suppliers is insufficient.
“We offer our customers a kit which includes a solar panel, a central unit containing a battery and a SIM card, lamps with LED bulbs, a multi-socket cable charger, a radio, a portable torch, and an optional 15 or 24-inch television set,” explains Alain Talès, head of the MEA Energy division at Orange.
These kits can be used to light the whole house, charge mobile phones at home, or operate a radio or even a television. The kit is easy and quick to set up – all you need to do is install a solar panel on the roof and a unit in the house.
Orange has carried out market research that allows it to target and prioritise populations and to determine marketing and distribution areas. “These various stages have been carried out directly by the countries where Orange Energy is marketed,” says Alain Talès.
When it comes to the different products, Orange has selected various partners based on their quality and ability to offer integrated solutions and meet the scale of the demand. “The selected platforms make it possible to digitize all processes from finding prospective customers, conducting logistical follow-ups and installing kits, to handling payments via Orange Money, as well as customer complaints,” explains Alain Talès.
People who have previously had no access to electricity can now benefit from the guarantee of this service proposed by Orange, which offers comprehensive installation, maintenance and repairs facilities in collaboration with its partners.
This “plug and play” service is simple to use. The kit is delivered directly to the customer’s home and the subscription is set up using a simple mobile phone. The customer subscribes to the Orange Energy service and chooses their desired subscription type, which can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Payment via Orange Money makes it possible to automatically grant or restore the service remotely for the desired time period (one week, one month, etc.). Charging indicators are located on the unit so users always know if the battery is charged.
After three years, ownership of the kit accessories is handed over to customers. As Alain Talès explains, this is “A way to pay less for energy consumption subsequently.”
With Orange Energy, Orange is pursuing its goal of becoming a key multi-service operator for people in Africa.
*Orange Money facilitates international money transfers and provides mobile financial services