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 Citizen (KZN) - - News - Amanda Wat­son – aman­[email protected]­i­zen.co.za

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”.

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