As Eskom load shedding continues to drain the morale of Capetonians, the City of Cape Town is now seeking permission for an expedited hearing on its case with the national Minister of Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in hopes that the hearing will result in the City being allowed to purchase electricity for the local grid from independent power producers.
Seemingly as a result of the continuous load shedding and subsequent power surges, some homes have reportedly been burned to the ground due to surges resulting in the explosion of different appliances.
Executive deputy mayor for the City of Cape Town, Ian Neilson says it’s high time that the country diversifies its electricity supply and decentralises the energy distribution system. Neilson envisions an energy distribution system centred on free market principles rather than on state control and management.
“It’s clear now that we can expect to have ongoing load shedding over the next few years,” he said.
“We believe this kind of centralised energy distribution system is an outdated system and we cannot as a country carry on like this. We need to move toward a distributed system that creates a market situation where you have many sellers of energy and many purchasers.”
“We believe the first step we need to work toward here is to have municipalities with the power to start buying electricity from different energy suppliers.”
Neilson explained that the City, if granted permission to obtain electricity from independent power producers, would continue to purchase electricity from Eskom in addition to other suppliers. The combined amount of electricity procured would then be put onto the local city grid.
“If it’s approved, the City could then enter into its own contracts with suppliers and start the process of diversifying energy sources which would result in a greater security of supply to consumers,” said Neilson.
The original hearing date was scheduled for May 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Eskom management on Wednesday this week, cutting short his planned state visit to Egypt, to address the sudden escalation in the electricity crisis.
National government has since suggested that acts of sabotage are behind the recent electricity crisis.
“I have instructed that the sabotage be investigated and they must immediately work with the South African Police Services and our intelligence services to find out exactly how anyone with Eskom could have disconnected the instrument that led to the loss of 2000 megawatts,” IOL quoted President Ramaphosa as saying.
eNCA: Eskom briefing on load-shedding