State’s iron grip on Eskom
BIG GUNS DON’T SEEM TO WANT TO FIND A VIABLE SOLUTION Load shedding for months suggested, though independent power is available.
The state’s Iron Curtain-esque grip on South African lives was clearly demonstrated this week when President Cyril Ramaphosa stated: “We are clear that the state will retain ownership of all those state-owned enterprises that are strategic”.
With rolling blackouts now in their second week, Ramaphosa, Eskom chief executive Jabu Mabuza, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe are claiming, it’s “not my fault”.
Mantashe’s plan for the current crisis appears to be to ride it out as repairs and maintenance are performed on the ailing power stations.
Eskom board member Busisiwe Mavuso recently recommended to parliament: “If we were given the latitude to make decisions without political interference as this board, I will tell you what we would do.
“We would actually go to South Africans and say, honestly, we need to load shed for at least the next eight months.”
What also needed to happen, said Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) CEO Wayne Duvenage, is open the electricity market to independent power producers (IPPs).
“We are suffering from the fallout of state capture ... and a lack of clarity on what has to be done to fix Eskom,” he said.
“They’re clutching at straws, people coming and going in the organisation and it’s becoming a headline: how to tackle what has become a monumental problem.”
Duvenage noted the idea of government refusing to let go of Eskom, despite its R454 billion debt, was reinforced by its procrastination over the issuing of the Integrated Resource Plan and the barriers against IPPs, with regulations slowing the process down.
Recent draft legislation also had stumbling blocks for the would-be end user, frustrated with the blackouts.
In October 2017, The Citizen reported the department of energy was “preparing legislation to force residents who live off the grid and generate electricity for their own use, or have a standby generator for blackouts, to register with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa)”.
“The draft Licensing Exemption and Registration Notice proposed
1.3GW of [independently produced] power waiting for signatures and approvals.
in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act also requires owners of electricity-generating devices to pay a fee to register.
“Households generating electricity by any means, including solar panels, that allows them to go off the grid would be required to pay a standby fee, according to the [draft] Act,” The Citizen reported.
Business Day reported yesterday there were “1.3 gigawatts of power generation outside Eskom, waiting for signatures and approvals, with some schemes in the works for years.
“Eskom provides about 25 gigawatts of electricity, despite installed capacity of 45 gigawatts”.