Smart meter on table

Orange Case Study

Orange Energy Contribution

Africa has a population of 1.2 billion people, in 2017600 million Africans still did not have access to electricity (Africa Progress Panel, 2017). In sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population have no access to the electricity network. Power cuts are frequent even in large metropolitan areas. In rural areas far from national electricity networks, this rate reaches 82% of the population. The issue of servicing these areas is therefore essential.

As a Mobile Network Operator operating in different African countries (Figure 1), Orange has developed a line of services to help energy utilities “Orange Energy”, including a service to enable customers to manage their energy expenditure by avoiding single-instalment delayed billing. The solution leverages mobile money, machine-to-machine connectivity, SMS and other mobile technologies “Orange Smart Metering”.

To reduce the reliance on diesel generation, Orange and IPP partners have proposed an Anchor, Business, Communities (ABC) model, using solar power. In an ABC mini-grid model a consistent load (i.e. a telecom tower) acts as an anchor load, consuming a large proportion of power and providing a consistent revenue stream, while also connecting local businesses and residents to reliable AC power via a mini-grid. Orange provides an integrated smart metering solution to enable energy prepayment via mobile money for mini-grid customers.

So far mini-grid pilot projects are being rolled out in two countries: Burkina Faso and DRC. The project in the DRC will be operational with the first customers connected to the mini-grid network by November 2021.

The mini-grid installation can be replicated into new villages in districts in the future. Smart meters will be installed directly at the client’s premises and will provide the following advantages:

  • Digitize relief operations
  • Improve the customer experience (invoicing, collection)
  • Payment by Orange Money
  • Detection and reduction of fraud
  • Monitoring of the low voltage distribution network

Orange Energy is a partner for the mini-grid project with connected smart metering. It is also an Anchor client that will offtake the energy produced by the solar mini-grid to power a nearby telecom tower with green electricity.

The smart mini-grid projects initiative has several social, environmental, and economic impacts; among which we can list the following:

  • Job creation- During the construction period, but also for maintenance and operation phase.
  • Energy Supply - The mini-grid system aims to provide a green, sustainable, and reliable source of energy all year long.
  • Education - Students will study easily and safely at night, without the loss of power for electronic devices such as laptops, phones …
  • Health- Health centres will be more functional by night reducing the reliance on kerosene for lighting.
  • Economic growth - Many commercial activities can be created, and new technologies tested for the first time (i.e. cooling system).


Back to: Energy Sector