Blackouts
Blackouts

The South African government on Wednesday ensured energy supply as rolling power blackouts continued unabated in the country.

The government commits to developing adequate generation capacity to meet electricity demand, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe said in a statement.

This is an urgent and immediate task to ensure economic growth, said the minister.

Mantashe said he has considered short and medium-term interventions in addressing both the electricity and energy challenges facing the country, as part of efforts to ensure security of electricity supply for the country

These include, among others, facilitating the process to allow capable municipalities and large power consumers to procure power directly from independent power producers (IPPs), and shortening the time for approving new IPP projects.

South Africa will continue to pursue a diversified energy mix as stipulated in the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, which sets a clear path for security of energy supply and electricity for the country, the minister said.

The National Energy Regulator will be meeting soon to conclude on matters of concurrence so it can assist the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy in responding to the challenges, according to Mantashe.

The minister issued the statement after South Africa’s power crisis reached an unprecedented level on Monday when stage-six load shedding was implemented, indicating that the national grid is facing imminent collapse.

Before Monday, load shedding had been implemented up to stage four.

The opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed Mantashe’s statement, but said “it is too little too late.”

The proposal to allow IPPs to come on the stage has been sitting on Mantashe’s desk for months, said Kevin Mileham, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.

The DA has repeatedly urged the government to prioritize procuring alternative sources of electricity and opening the national grid to IPPs.

State-run electricity utility Eskom has maintained monopoly on power supply, providing more than 95 percent of the electricity consumed in the country.

Many customers, including the City of Cape Town, have applied for government permission to purchase directly from IPPs, but to no avail.

The government has been criticized for blocking efforts to break Eskom’s monopoly on electricity supply.

Mileham said the DA remains committed to working with the government in finding solutions to the rolling blackouts that are having a devastating effect on the economy. Enditem

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