Measures to be put in place by energy minister Gwede Mantashe to minimise the country’s energy crisis, as announced on Tuesday afternoon, had come too little too late, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has said. South Africa was plunged into Stage 6 rotational blackouts – known as loadshedding – on Monday, at short notice. The country has never before shifted to this level. DA shadow minister of mineral resources, Kevin Mileham, said on Tuesday night that while the party welcomed the fact that Mantashe had “finally stood up”, his short and medium-term interventions announced earlier in the day had come too late.
Mantashe announced, among other things, that the process of purchasing energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would be expedited. Section 34 determinations are a very welcome announcement, as these have been sitting on his desk for months. This will allow capable municipalities and large power consumers to procure power directly from IPPs,” said Mileham. But, he said, Mantashe’s comments about the Request for Information (RFI) for new IPP generation “leaves a lot to be desired”.
“The IPP office is set up to do this work and is globally recognised as being one of the best at rolling out procurement of such projects. New IPP projects (particularly in the renewable sector) are ready to go, and merely await the opening of the next bid window to roll out electricity solutions that are more cost effective and environmentally sustainable in a much shorter timeframe than it would take to procure new coal, gas or nuclear plants. Equally, the minister must ease regulation on the licensing of small scale plants (under 10MW) and residential generation. Mileham said the DA remained committed to working with government in finding solutions to the rolling blackouts. “We are willing to engage further with the minister in this regard, if he is prepared to listen.
In other news – Rami Chuene’s reaction to stage 6 load-shedding leaves Twitter in stitches
Scores of South Africans have taken to Twitter to react to stage 6 of load-shedding implemented by SA power utility Eskom, but actor Rami Chuene‘s response to the power cuts take the cake.
On Monday, the power utility announced it would cut the power up to stage 6, which is the highest stage SA has ever experienced. Eskom said this was due to a “technical problem” at the Medupi power station. The power utility also attributed the unprecedented power cuts to the recent heavy rains. Read more