Trade union Solidarity has served legal papers on the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to remove all bottlenecks standing in the way of private energy suppliers.
Solidarity stresses that the future of energy in South Africa lies in less State and more private service delivery.
In its court application, Solidarity demands, among other things, that it be furnished with information about the number of applications for private power generation Nersa has received, and it demands to know how long approval of such applications takes.
Solidarity also demands that Nersa accounts for why no guidelines on feed-in and wheeling tarrifs have been published to date.
“The first step is to force Nersa, through a disclosure process, to disclose information about why so few licences have been awarded to private generators of power and why so few private generation licences have been granted. Based on this information, it will be possible to determine where the bottlenecks lie and what further steps need to be taken to remove these bottlenecks,” Solidarity CE Dr Dirk Hermann says.
“The most significant protest action against the current power situation in the country lies in generating power oneself. Through our application, we want to enable everyone, especially entrepreneurs who want to generate power, to do so. However, we cannot expect entrepreneurs to make huge investments if they do not have the ability to estimate the returns on such investments. There is a lack of clear, reliable guidelines that make it possible to calculate such risk.
“South Africa’s power supply future lies in decentralisation. [State-owned power utility] Eskom will always be part of the South African power supply mix, but the private sector’s share in power supply will have to increase drastically to ensure a sustainable power supply. We will do everything possible to stabilise Eskom, but will apply ourselves just as much to increase the private share,” he adds.