Let’s talk about energy, Mr President: Salga

12 March 2018 - 14:17 By Penwell Dlamini
President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Esa Alexxander

The leadership of the SA Local Government Association (Salga) says it wants to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the issue of energy in the country and the role played by local government in this space.

On Monday‚ Salga released its declarations following its energy summit held in Sandton last week.

“Salga national leadership seek an audience with the President of Republic of South Africa to sensitise him about the imperative of urgently assisting in resolution of the energy policy complex‚” the declaration document read.

It called for the president to appoint “an energy reform commission to review the current structure‚ evaluate the reform work done to date‚ define a more sustainable structure and implement structural changes required”.

It also said that‚ in conjunction with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and Salga‚ a team of experts should be appointed to provide the required strategic direction and support to municipalities.

The summit brought in a number of role players in the energy sector to find solutions on the energy problems faced by municipalities across the country.

During the debates‚ it became clear that municipalities would like to get more options on who they procure electricity to and also to remain the main distributor of power to the end-user.

Eskom reassured municipalities that it was fixing its internal problems and it would address any concerns raised by councils.

Currently‚ municipalities owe Eskom R30-billion. The power utility has raised this issue in Parliament‚ saying it is placing the entity at risk.

In the declarations‚ Salga called for a review of the electricity industry.

It also called on:

- national government to engage on procurement and generation of electricity by municipalities and to consult local government as a first step to the (IRP)Integrated Resource Plan‚ and to also respond positively and constructively to the extensive local government submissions to the IRP process;

- the minister of energy to respond positively to requests for ministerial determination for local government to procure its own power;

-the minister of energy‚ with the cooperation of National Energy Regulator of SA‚ to gazette a new regulation exempting power projects under 10 megawatts from the requirement of licensing so that the local distributed power market can grow to its potential; and

- the entire distribution sector to recognise the constitutional authority of local government as the electricity service authority for distribution across the country which includes its authority to appoint and enter into service delivery agreements with service providers.

Salga committed itself to drive efficiency in municipal electricity operations and develop strategies to increase revenue collection.