State of the Nation Address
It’s been just over six months since the country has experienced load shedding. This has brought relief for both households and industry.
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said government’s interventions have ensured that the country’s lights are kept on.
The Minister, however, warned that in order to keep the lights on, the country cannot afford to be complacent and misuse electricity.
“We have to be honest and acknowledge that we have had challenges with electricity supply. However … it has been six months since we last had load shedding.
“This is the result of the interventions that we have made, as well as the positive response of South Africans to use electricity sparingly,” she said during a debate following President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament recently.
When the President delivered his State of the Nation Address at the National Assembly during a joint-sitting of houses, he gave an update on government’s Nine-Point Plan that was approved by cabinet to tackle challenges that hindered growth.
Electricity supply was one of the main challenges that were identified as a priority.
The President said government has invested R83 billion in Eskom, a move that has enabled the utility to continue investing in Medupi and Kusile, while continuing with a diligent maintenance programme.
Addressing Members of Parliament during the debate, Minister Joemat-Pettersson said South Africans must, despite the no load shedding milestone, ensure that they continue to use electricity responsibly.
“The situation remains tight and we must continue to use electricity carefully. Our communities are also demanding adequate service delivery, including the continuous supply of electricity.
“We see protests in our communities almost daily, but we have been listening to their concerns and demands.
“We have invested time and effort and we are now getting results,” he said.
How government is keeping the lights on
In his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma said additional units from Ingula power station will be connected in 2017, even though some of them will begin synchronisation this year.
He said that the multiple bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme have attracted an investment of R194 billion.
The President said the initiative is an example of how government can partner with the private sector to provide practical solutions to an immediate challenge that faces our country.
During the debate, the Minister said the Department of Energy was in the process of launching a gas to power procurement programme to generate in excess of 3 000 Megawatts of power.
Under the coal component of the energy mix the department will, in the next quarter ,, announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the allocated 2 500 Megawatts of the Independent Power Producer Programme.
The Minister said nuclear energy remains a central feature of the country’s energy mix. She said government planned to buy an additional 9 600 Megawatts of nuclear energy over the next 10 years.
“Constrained electricity supply has had a significant effect on the economy and the potential for new investment. We know that investors do not like uncertainty.
“We have been able to provide the certainty with our Independent Power Producer Programme,” the Minister said.