Tag Archive | National Energy Regulator Bill

Energy department plans more electricity for the poor

Ompi Aphane, deputy director general of department of energy (DOE), told parliamentarians that his department was acutely aware of the fact that South Africa needed energy security for development of the country and to reduce economic deprivation amongst the poor. However he said his departmental budget had been cut, resulting in a number of departmental objectives being abandoned.

A total of 3.4 million households did not have electricity, he said, and 1.2 million of these were in informal settlements around the country. This meant about 12.5 million people did not to have access to energy as is commonly understood. Ompi Aphane was addressing the NCOP’s select committee on economics and consequently his overview stressed provincial and rural targets.

The percentages of households without electricity were: Eastern Cape 20%, the Free State 6%, Gauteng 21%, KwaZulu-Natal 24%, Limpopo 10.5%, Mpumalanga 6.5%, North West 5.5%, Northern Cape 1.5% and the Western Cape 5%.

Aphane said that Development Bank of South Africa have joined the DOE on a rand to rand basis with electricity development in municipal areas where help is needed to overcome some of the issues, he told MPs. These arrangements were at MOU stage but, nevertheless, negotiations with certain municipalities was underway and planning going ahead.

Dr Wolsey Barnard of DOE (Inep-BPU) said that that it needed centralised buying power to bring down the costs of equipment supplied to make equipment such as transformers available at lower prices to smaller municipalities and IPPs. A more innovation approach to centralised procurement was needed, he said.

Returning to the overall picture, Ompi Aphane said South Africa had to remain competitive in terms of electricity pricing in order to attract investment and DOE remained conscious of the fact that the country had to be totally able to finance its R3trillion energy/electricity programme which included all power stations and national grid wiring and transmission systems.

The  main objectives for DOE were the planning and establishment of new electricity generation capacity in South Africa; the running of the multi year price determination process (MYPD) through to 2030 to establish electricity prices; to monitor all Eskom construction; the establishment of the independent market operator system (ISMO) bringing in independent electricity generation producers and to focus on the electricity distribution network as it applied to the rehabilitation of municipality systems and distribution.

On nuclear energy, Aphane told the select committee on economic development  that the IAEA review of South Africa’s nuclear needs was about to be finalised and hopefully ratified and  approved; all processes being for peaceful purposes, including the important applications in the food chain and health curative areas. Radiation monitoring at main ports of entry was a current project of DOE, he said.

Nuclear issues were subject to “scaremongering”, he said and DOE was fully aware of the need for full national debate on the issue and community awareness programmes. Amendments also were needed under the Nuclear Regulator Act which had to be approved by cabinet and provisions’ made for the withdrawal of the safeguards function from the nuclear operating body, the Nuclear Energy Corporation and pass this to independent governance of the regulator, NERSA.

Other legislative changes ahead were proposals to amendments to the National Energy Regulator Bill; the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill and the ISMO Bill. Draft legislation on nuclear waste issues was with cabinet, Aphane said.   The DOE energy policy and planning programme also had the objective of monitoring the effectiveness of the Increasing Block Tariff (IBT) designed to cushion the poor from rising costs in terms of the true cost of production. The programme planned to extend the IBT to cover prepaid meters in more municipal areas.

Bio-ethanol blending values had to be established and a debate commenced on exactly what were break-even bio fuel price structures if development was to be seen in this area. On energy renewables, Aphane said that a “template” had to be found for a renewables annual report so that progress and development could be measured.   A wind energy awareness campaign was being planned and the solar water heating implementation was well underway with over half a million solar water heating units so far installed.

Nevertheless, returning to his opening remarks, DOE reported that still 12.5 million individuals remained without electricity.   Inroads were being made and next year a further 70,000 municipal connections were expected and 111,500 Eskom connections were planned but price increases in the materials used, or “hardware” were escalating.

On non-grid solar home systems, the total installed to date since the start of the programme was 48,230. The provincial breakdown had been 10,385 in the Eastern Cape, 29,705 in KwaZulu-Natal and 8,140 in Limpopo.

In future, non-grid electrification programmes were not only to be implemented in what was known as “concessionary areas” but on a limited basis in Southern Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape areas where sunlight was more reliable. The target of 10 000 home systems for the current year had been achieved.

The DOE concluded that South Africa’s electrification policies were still valid but different strategies of implementation, particularly as far as climate change was concerned, were needed in the area of renewables.

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Land,Agriculture, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments

Brief on new draft energy and electricity bills

The director general of the energy department, Nelisiwe Magubane, has now briefed Parliament on the impending tabling of both the National Energy Regulator Amendment Bill and the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill which, according Magubane will beef up NERSA giving it the regulatory power to control “the entire energy space”.

She told the parliamentary committee on energy that that an independent appeal board headed up by a judge would replace the existing tribunal so that NERSA did not have to play both judge and jury in regulatory matters, where a decision on tariffs or regulatory procedures were involved. Appeals would therefore conducted in a fairer environment.

Both bills have been the subject of public comment and it remains to be seen what the final Bills tabled before Parliament look like. On electricity, much involves independent power producers (IPPs) and may sort out the anomalies that exist in the procurement of land for power line erection and the difficult liaison with the department of public works over such issues.

As far as the Energy Regulator Act (ERA) is concerned, the amendments proposed to parliamentarians were stated as being designed to “improve the credibility of the decision making process by establishing an appeals board; to improve the governance and accountability of the board and to improve the working relations amongst regulator members.”

The department of energy said that the energy sector had to be regulated more effectively “given the current need that has now arisen to increase private sector participation”.

Present at the briefing were officials of NERSA who also claimed, as did the department, that both new Bills would enable them to have the ability to work in a less fragmented environment with not so many departments having regulatory control over different issues.

NERSA at no stage discussed matters relating to fuel pricing and neither did the department. Further meetings are to follow.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Electricity, Energy, Finance, economic, Fuel,oil,renewables, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Trade & Industry0 Comments


This website is Archival

If you want your publications as they come from Parliament please contact ParlyReportSA directly. All information on this site is posted two weeks after client alert reports sent out.

Upcoming Articles

  1. Minister Mahlobo on refinery, nuclear issues
  2. New Arbitration Bill protects SA importers
  3. Communications Bill to be tabled 2018...more
  4. Border Management Authority Bill limps on
  5. Labour: essential services, labour broking & 3 new Bills
  6. Parliament to beef up AG's powers

Earlier Editorials

Earlier Stories

  • AARTO traffic offences bill on its way

    AARTO licence demerit system studied  …. In what has been a legislative marathon, the update of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) has now reached a stage […]

  • Border Management Authority around the corner

    SARS role at border posts being clarified …. In adopting the Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs agreed with a wording that at all future one-stop border […]

  • Barnes prepares SAPO for SASSA

    Modernising SAPO a culture change ….. sent to clients 27 February…. Stage by stage, Mark Barnes, Group Chief Executive Officer of South African Post Office (SAPO), appears to be reforming cultures and […]

  • FICA Bill could meet new task force deadline

    OECD money task force waiting for SA   ….sent to clients Feb 7…. Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, made it quite clear in terms of parliamentary rules that […]

  • FICA Bill : Hearings on legal point

    President Zuma vs Parliament on FICA Bill …..editorial……The convoluted thinking that is taking place in South Africa to avoid the consequences of the law has once again become evident in […]