Load-shedding unavoidable, Ramaphosa says during Sona
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday announced that financially viable municipalities can now procure their own electricity from independent power producers.
In his state of the nation address, the president announced a list of seven measures to rapidly increase the capacity of energy generation outside of Eskom.
Ramaphosa said load-shedding was unavoidable but must be undertaken in a manner that was predictable and minimised disruption and cost to firms and households.
“We will put in place measures to enable municipalities in good financial standing to procure their own power from independent power producers,” Ramaphosa said.
Municipalities such as the City of Cape Town, business leaders and, lately, the ANC, have backed a plan to allow municipalities to be less reliant on Eskom.
“Over the next few months, as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, we will be implementing measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in our country,” Ramaphosa said.
As part of Ramaphosa’s planned steps for the state to become less reliant on the troubled power utility, the president said that the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 with be given effect to allow for the development of additional grid capacity from renewable energy, natural gas, hydro power, battery storage and coal.
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“We will initiate the procurement of emergency power from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid within three to 12 months of approval,” Ramaphosa said.
He said they will allow more independent power producers to supply energy to the grid.
While government will effect a decrease of reliance on Eskom, Ramaphosa said that they worked on a social compact that seeks an “efficient, productive and fit-for-purpose Eskom that generates electricity at affordable prices for communities and industries”.
But to do that, Ramaphosa said, it would require a drastic reduction of costs and an effort to reduce Eskom debt. This will include the review of irregular contracts as well as injecting fresh capital where needed.
“Through these immediate measures and the work under way to fundamentally restructure our electricity industry, we will achieve a secure supply of reliable, affordable and, ultimately, sustainable energy,” the president said.