LWB Wins African Utility Week Industry Award

Written by  Sam Phiri
Lilongwe Water Board - LWB has been crowned as the Water Service Provider of the Year during the sixth edition of African Utility Week Industry Awards which took place on Wednesday 15th May, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Eng. Chikuni of LWB (right) receiving the award on behalf of the Board Eng. Chikuni of LWB (right) receiving the award on behalf of the Board
Lilongwe Water Board won the award after overcoming competition from Umgeni water, Hessequa municipality and Ontec Systems (Pty) Ltd.
However, LWB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Alfonso Chikuni who was one of the finalists for an individual award, Outstanding Contribution: Water, lost to Damas Alfred Mashauri (Professor: Civil Engineering, University of Namibia: Engineering & IT).
In an interview, Eng. Chikuni said the award is a clear manifestation of the Board’s efforts to improve water service delivery in the city of Lilongwe.
“Winning such an award is not a mean achievement. It clearly demonstrates that people are able to appreciate our efforts to ensure we provide quality water services to our customers,” said Eng. Chikuni.
Eng. Chikuni said that LWB will continue to develop the social-economic framework by exploring emerging opportunities to achieve its mandate to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
 “It is our vision to be a leading customer focused and financially viable water utility in Southern Africa. We will continue to be innovative and proactive by adopting and implementing commercially viable facilities to make sure we are up-to-date with modern trends of technological development,” said Chikuni.
This is the second time for LWB to win the award; it once won the award in 2017. The Board has won the award following innovative strides it has made in the past two years in improving delivery of water services in Lilongwe City. 
Between 2017 and 2019, LWB has, among others, developed a hydraulic model; introduced prepaid metering system; launched a new billing system with customer interface; adopted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and SCADA systems; launched state-the-of-art 24/7 Customer Call Centre and various pieces of equipment for modernizing service delivery. 
The Customer Call Centre has transformed service delivery at LWB and improved communication and interaction with customers; now the Board is a darling to its customers as it has created a powerful interface by being available for its customers 24/7.
And for the first time, the Board has also launched an asset management program e.g. the World Bank Group funded Lilongwe Water and Sanitation Project (LWSP) which aims at reducing water losses, improving water supply and eliminating bottlenecks in the supply system through replacement, rehabilitation and installation of pipes, pumping mains and booster stations. 
LWB has, among others, transformed itself from loss making to profit making organization in a few years; increased supply coverage by more than 10% from 69% in 2014 to 83.4% in 2018; increased number of customers or connections from 60,000 to 83,500; increased revenue collection efficiency through enhanced revenue collection strategies, innovation and building customer loyalty (collection efficiency moved from 47% to 85% in a few years), and increased capacity to deliver services by initiation and completion of infrastructure projects.
African Utility Week Industry Awards 
The sixth edition of the African Utility Week Industry Awards took place on Wednesday, 15 May during the 19th annual African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa. The Industry Awards brought together 800 of Africa’s most renowned power, energy and water industry professionals, many of them long standing attendees of African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa. 
Other categories at the Awards included outstanding contribution: power, lifetime achievement, young leader award, power service provider of the year. 

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