The DA welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramphosa that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has undertaken to amend Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act “to increase NERSA’s licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1MW to 100MW.”
The DA has long called for Minister Gwede Mantashe and his department to change energy regulations to allow for independent power producers to ease the pressure on the national grid. We are pleased that sense has finally prevailed as the President has desided to go big on energy.
While this is a welcome development, it will mean nothing if Mantashe tries to throw a spanner in the works. Any delays on this announcement will lead South Africa deeper into Eskom-sponsored darkness
The President has indicated that the final amendments on Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act will be published within the next 60 days. The DA will hold the President and Minister to this deadline, although we believe it is way too long. South Africa needs electricity urgently, and the President and Mantashe should prioritise this amendment and publish it sooner rather than later.
It must be stressed, however, that this simply cannot be one of the President’s trademark empty promises in order to save face in light of Eskom’s announcement of stage 3 and 4 rolling blackouts this week. These amendments must be actioned and implemented without delay as it has the potential to free up and encourage investment in the electricity generation sector and ease demand on the grid.
The details of the amendment remain to be seen. If it includes easing the conditions on municipalities seeking to buy electricity from independent power producers, then the announcement also spells good news for the DA-run Western Cape government’s Municipal Energy Resilience Project. This project seeks to help municipalities in the province generate or buy their own electricity in the medium- and long-term and free its residents from Eskom’s monopoly.