Reliability for Senegal

Vinci Energies and Ensto join forces to bring reliable electrical supply to citizens of Senegal.

In Senegal, major cities like Dakar have electrification rates approaching 85 percent, but in the countryside it can fall to as low as 30 percent. Senelec, Senegal’s national electrical utility, is working with Vinci Energies International & Systems and Ensto to bring access to the population, improving quality and continuity of service.

But simple supply of electricity is not enough: it must be reliable. Failures and interruptions not only dissatisfy customers and cost the distributor money but, in Africa, the reliability of electrical supply can also be a political issue. Reliability can equate to stability.

Senelec, Vinci, Ensto

With the goal of extending reliable electrification, Senelec awarded Vinci a 197-million euro contract to supply build networks in Senegal. Vinci employs over 210,000 people across 100 countries, and designs, finances, builds, and manages infrastructure.

For Senegal, Vinci will supply 200 kilometers of high-voltage overhead and underground lines, including 100 distribution stations – all of this delivered within 36 months. Ensto's role is to supply 300 Auguste load break switches, along with 100 underground control command boxes.

"The underground network will cover the cities of Dakar, Diass, Diamniadio, Thiès, Kounoune, Tobène and Tambacounda," says Thierry Crépieux, Ensto Area Sales Manager, who is in charge of sales in Senegal. "Overhead lines are being built in the countryside."


The equipment, manufactured at Ensto’s Villefranche-sur-Saône and Bagnères-de-Bigorre plants in France, is key to bringing reliability to the Senelec's distribution network.

“Auguste’s control box is the clever part of the solution,” says Crépieux. “The communications protocol associated with fault detection enables the customer to remotely diagnose a problem, and rearrange the distribution pattern with strategically-placed switches to isolate the fault.” If a fault should cause a Senelec customer to go without electricity, Auguste ensures it won’t be for long.

Training for autonomy

So that Senelec’s team may operate the system autonomously, Ensto will provide training. Senelec will send a team to France to train, who will return to Senegal in the role of teachers.

Senelec is developing a training center in Senegal, which will be supplied with an Auguste switch for training purposes. Julien Gregoire, Ensto’s After Sales Specialist for Training and Commissioning, was on the ground in January 2020 in Senegal to assist with installation training, best practices in software, and settings inside the control box to ensure the most efficient use of the whole solution.

Reliability for Africa

Ensto’s Auguste solution is clever in its simplicity and its integrated functions and will be used for modernization everywhere in the countryside.

As of February 2020, 153 of the Auguste load breaker switches were installed and the results measured. Senelec calculates they have already saved 116.6 megawatt hours, or 150 million West African francs (approximately 229,000 euros), on non-distributed energy, the amount of energy that a consumer will not receive due to interruption of supply.

Senelec says that even in situations where faults have increased, the cumulative duration for interruptions has been dramatically reduced due to the ability to quickly restore energy to their customers.

Crépieux says the flexibility of Auguste has made it an ideal solution in many parts of Africa and beyond, and Senelec has even bigger plans for the next five years.” Crépieux estimates a need for more than 2,000 load break switches or underground control boxes conditioned on financing.


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Network automation