In an unprecedented move, the president of the republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa made a statement on Thursday in which he addressed a number of issues that have been bedeviling the power utility, Eskom. The changes included policy changes which are hoped to allow private players to contribute to the power grid.
Eskom has, of late been implementing a host of measures to ensure that the national grid is not strained. Recently, the power utility announced that it was embarking on stage two load shedding. While this has meant scheduled switch off times for electricity, there have been instances when this has not been followed. In some cases, the electricity has been switched off when, according to the schedule, it should not have been. This has led to a lot of revenue loss. That notwithstanding, the power parastatal has also been rocked by the current wave of corruption. It has featured quite significantly in the ongoing Zondo Commission, which is attempting to unravel how far corruption has ingrained itself into society.
In his Thursday afternoon address, Ramaphosa announced that one of the changes that his administration would embark on was the amendment of schedule two of the Electricity regulation Act, which would have the effect of increasing the threshold for embedded generation projects from 1mega-watt to 100 Mega Watts. “This intervention reflects our determination to take the necessary action to achieve energy security and reduce the impact of load shedding on businesses and households across the country. It is evidence of our intention to tackle this economic crisis head-on, by implementing major economic reforms that will transform our economy,” he said. Ramaphosa added that the effect of this amendment was that of exempting generation projects up to one hundred megawatts from the licensing requirements of the Nersa Licensing requirement. This, he said, would apply whether the projects are connected to the grid, which would remove a huge obstacle to investment in embedded generation projects.
However, according to the president, generation projects will still need to obtain a grid connection permit to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for grid compliance.