There are many projects where we have worked as part of a larger team, fullfiling a specific function or providing one of our specialist skills. Increasingly, we provide end-to-end expertise and manage every aspect of a project.
We are happy to run an entire project from conception to close-out. We have provided this full service to a number of clients in recent years. We have also created our own internal products and services.
Municipal electricity tariff analysis
BDO, a financial advisory consultancy, hired us to design a research project for their client, the Energy Intensive Users Group of Southern Africa (EIUG). The EIUG is a voluntary association of energy intensive consumers whose members consume over 40 percent of the electricity produced in South Africa and who contribute over 20 percent to South Africa’s GDP.
Between 2008 and 2011 the national government doubled the price of electricity, with annual increases of more than 25 percent. Members of the EIUG were heavily affected by this and asked us to tell the story of the electricity price: its sharp increase and subsequent effects on business profit, government revenue, and demand for electricity.
Hlaziya Solutions designed a detailed economic study of the electricity price increase and its implications for South Africa. We analysed electricity tariffs across the ten largest and most industrialised municipalities in South Africa from 2008 to 2012. The tariff structures are complex, varying across different user groups, time of use, and volume of consumption.
We built a demand model for electricity by measuring the change in electricity consumption for each user group as tariff prices changed. The groups – government, business, private households – are all sensitive to changes in the price of electricity, but to different degrees. Our model estimated the sensitivity of each group to price changes and calculated the effect of price increases on municipal revenue. In our analysis of municipal revenue we included the likelihood of higher rates of non-payment by users and the effect on municipal debtors books. Our report concluded that the higher cost of electricity placed enormous burdens on electricity users and heightened the financial risk of municipalities.
2019 national election analysis
Our fascination with election analysis reaches back to the 2011 municipal election. We covered that election for the Daily Maverick, accurately predicting the result for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in one of our articles. Over the next eight years we pioneered different tools to describe, analyse and predict election results in South Africa. For the 2019 national / provincial election we took everything we had learned over three general elections – and dozens of municipal by-elections – to provide election coverage for our clients across a number of different platforms
We created a probabilistic model of the 2019 national election. Our model accurately predicted the national results for the three biggest parties – we were within 0.5 percentage points of the ANC’s and EFF’s national shares, and within two percentage points for the DA. In partnership with Know Africa we created ElectionDirections, a bespoke research platform. Through ElectionDirections we produced research notes for a number of clients, including Signal Risk.
We consulted to Arena Holdings (formerly Tiso Blackstar Group) for three months leading up to the elections, writing weekly articles for the TimesLive online news site. We co-hosted a limited-series podcast for TimesLive called The Numbers Don’t Lie, and our CEO Paul Berkowitz was the keynote speaker at a Business Day breakfast event: you can find a podcast of the event here.
We consulted to the SABC for election week, working with the SABC team at the Pretoria-based Results Operations Centre to produce real-time articles and research as the election results streamed in. Paul appeared on a number of SABC broadcasts as an in-house research consultant, and you can view some of the broadcasts here.