In 2016, the International Association of the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD), under the support of the Danube Water Program, outlined a long-term strategic program for capacity building in the water supply and sewerage sector in the Danube region under the branded name, Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP).
“Commercial Efficiency in Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities” is one of the D-LeaP Programs that the Water Supply and Sewerage Association of Albania (SHUKALB) and the Water and Wastewater Works Association of Kosovo (SHUKOS) have jointly to undertake as a HUB*. This capacity building Program is one of the building blocks of the training programs of D-LeaP, targeting a defined set of processes within water utilities operating in the Danube Region.
The overall objectives of the Commercial Efficiency Training Program are:
- To create a practical knowledge sharing program that will support water utilities operating in the Danube Region in the formulation and implementation of individual programs to strengthen their commercial performance.
- To facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for continuous and sustainable delivery of this knowledge sharing program in localized regions of the Danube Region, through qualified trainers, who can deliver the program in their local language.
The first Training of Trainers Workshop of the Commercial Efficiency Program was organized on 26-28 April, at the Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Korca WSS, Albania. The training was attended by participants from three (3) HUBs under the Program, which were: SHUKALB/SHUKOS, Association of Public Service Providers of Macedonia (ADKOM) and the Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Brasov, Romania (APA Brasov). The preparation of all the training materials and the conduct of the ToT Workshop were done by Valu Add Management Services, a private company member of SHUKALB, contracted by IAWD under D-Leap. Three expert international trainers that delivered the training included Philip D. Giantris from Albania, Radoslav Russev from Bulgaria, and Bambos Charalambous from Cyprus.
The three (3) day ToT Workshop covered topics such as:
- Linking Commercial Efficiency to Business Planning
- Current Performance Assessment Based on Performance Indicators with Focus on Commercial Efficiency
- Defining Commercial Efficiency Strategic Goals
- Water Demand Analysis
- Defining Performance Improvement Action Plans to Achieve Commercial Efficiency Targets
- Organizational Structure and Staffing Efficiency
- Operations and Maintenance Budget
- Capital Expenditure and Investment Forecast
- Determining Total Revenue Needs and Tariff Strategy
- Challenges in Commercial Efficiency Implementation
- Monitoring, Reporting and Corrective Actions
During the first two days of class room training, the participants were engaged in a parallel, practical training exercise related to completing a system Water Balance and on Unpaid Debt Analysis and Recovery. On the third day of the training, the participants, were hosted by several members of the Korca utility staff to see and experience, first hand, how a modern, Smart Meter system has been installed in Korca, and the benefits of its operations. They learned about the unique features of the meters, which they say actually being installed at a customer location; how meter data is transmitted from each meter to the central Customer Service Center, with no need for meter readers; and how the data is then analysed and downloaded to produce a bill for the customers.
The ToT workshop was a success, for the fact that participants received all the necessary information and training, qualifying as future trainers for the staff of the water supply and sewerage companies in their respective countries. Valu Add Management Services will continue to assist them on this process.
SHUKALB would like to thank the Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Korca for its great support in making their facilities and its talented staff available for both the classroom and field training.