The wider business community in South Africa has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to liberate the nation from load shedding imposed by the suffering power utility, Eskom.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last night said South Africa needed to urgently add much, much more capacity to the grid to end load shedding as Eskom has an electricity shortage of up to 6 000MW.
The plan to import electricity from countries such as Zambia and Botswana were among the measures he presented.
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said on Tuesday that the major steps that the president has taken means there is now no need for the declaration of a state of emergency or disaster.
“The news that Eskom will over the next year increase its maintenance budget to increase the reliability of its power stations is positive, as is cutting red tape to allow the utility to procure parts and equipment more easily is the sensible thing to do,” BLSA said.
“BLSA is pleased with the announcement that Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will deal with the issue of Eskom’s debt in his medium-term budget policy statement in October. We are particularly pleased that the president is involving the private sector in his interventions in that companies will now be able to build power plants of any size without needing to obtain a licence and will be able to sell power to the grid. Even owners of buildings and homes will now be permitted to sell power from rooftop solar panels.“ BLSA further said.
Meanwhile, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has said it applauded the interventions that the president and his team have set out to tackle the country’s energy crisis head-on.
“The Association views the plan as being sharply focused on the key areas of concern, encompassing the improvement of Eskom’s energy availability factor (EAF) with maintenance; bringing all available energy into the system quickly; accelerating new generation capacity; addressing bureaucratic blockages and liberalising the energy system,” SAWEA said in a statement.
“To deliver on the required generation capacity, as outlined, we’d like to highlight the necessity to urgently address and prioritise the grid capacity challenges, as solutions will need to be advanced to ensure that the areas with the best wind and solar PV resources are unblocked,” commented Niveshen Govender, SAWEA CEO.
“While we understand that these are temporary policy adjustments to overcome the effects of the energy crisis, we see this as the right steps to creating an open energy system that will attract more investment, create jobs and benefit the South African economy,” added Govender.
The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday that it would oppose any further taxpayer-funded bailouts to Eskom should Finance Minister Enoch Gondongwana announce such measures in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement to be tabled later this year.
Investec’s economist, Annabel Bishop, said the energy crisis came to a head in July on stage 6 load shedding, prompting last night’s presidential announcements on a set of actions.
“Regulatory hurdles, and the extremely slow pace of state bureaucracy has impeded the development of the private energy sector and a large-scale crowding in of private sector generation is rapidly needed, which the president has now given strong support for, along with the need for a severe clampdown on theft and criminal activity, payment of services, stabilising Eskom and improving its plant performance. A competitive energy market is envisioned, along with a strong increase in renewable energy investment,” Bishop said on Tuesday. IOL