Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill essential to resolving energy crisis

AN image of Energy Council of South Africa CEO James Mackay

JAMES MACKAY The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill will enable significantly increased levels of investment, job creation and economic growth

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19th January 2024


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The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill will accelerate South Africa’s shift towards a decentralised, modern, and low-carbon energy system, says industry association Energy Council of South Africa CEO James Mackay.

This shift will enable vital reforms that will help end loadshedding as well as accelerate the Just Energy Transition – which has the potential to unlock economic growth and job creation, he elaborates.

The Energy Council of South Africa addressed the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy regarding the critical importance of passing the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, in December last year.

The Bill provides for an independent National Transmission Company that will impartially manage the transition to the competitive electricity market South Africa needs. The implementation of the new transmission company envisioned in the Bill, and already legally established by State-owned electricity utility Eskom, will help to facilitate and accelerate the investment, policy development and skills required to modernise the grid for a low-carbon future and energy security.

Critically, Mackay notes, the Bill does not privatise the electricity system. Rather, it provides an independent State-owned and run transmission and market that enables private sector investment and generation to supplement Eskom generation and meet national electricity demand.

If executed effectively, the Bill will enable significantly increased levels of investment, job creation and economic growth in the process of meeting South Africa’s short- and long-term energy needs, he asserts.

South Africa is already moving rapidly towards a decentralised electricity system, with more than 5 GW of installed rooftop solar photovoltaic and hundreds of large-scale utility wind and solar projects rapidly moving into construction, says the council.

The Energy Council estimates the connection of new utility wind and solar projects will double from 2023 to 2024 and double again to 2025. The enactment of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill will help to ensure that this growing generation capacity can be brought online optimally and to the benefit of all electricity consumers.

Further, shifting to a competitive marketplace for electricity will drive efficiency and ultimately cheaper electricity for all consumers. These factors, together with the pressing challenges posed by loadshedding, make passing the Bill in the remainder of the sixth Parliament a vital priority.

The Bill is one of the critical pillars of the Energy Action Plan led by President Cyril Ramaphosa in partnership with business. It has been identified by the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECC) as a priority reform for restoring investor confidence and unlocking historic investment into the nation’s energy system.

The Energy Council is committed to working with government and Eskom through the NECC to end the current crisis and ensure that South Africa enjoys an energy secure, low-carbon future.

“The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill marks a critical step in this process, and we trust that Parliament will work efficiently to take the Bill over the finishing line,” Mackay concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor




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