Johannesburg – Solidarity has initiated legal action against the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to remove all bottlenecks in the way of private energy suppliers.
Solidarity on Thursday said it had served legal papers on NERSA to increase private power generation.
“The first step is to force NERSA through a disclosure process to disclose information about why so few licenses have been awarded to private generators of power and so few private generation licenses have been granted,” explained Dr. Dirk Hermann, Solidarity Chief Executive.
“Based on this information it will be possible to determine where the bottlenecks lie and what further steps need to be taken to remove these bottlenecks.”
In the application Solidarity demands, among other things, that it be furnished with information about the number of applications for private power generation NERSA has received.
Solidarity also wants to know how long approval of such applications takes.
Solidarity further demands that NERSA account for why no guidelines on feed-in and wheeling tariffs have been published to date.
For a variety of reasons, Eskom continues to struggle to meet electricity demand and relies on load-shedding to avoid a complete collapse of the rickety system.
South Africans are having to put up with Stage 4 and Stage 5 alternating load-shedding every day resulting in threats of protest action.
“The most significant protest action against the current power situation in the country lies in generating power oneself,” said Hermann.
“Through our application we want to enable everyone, especially entrepreneurs who want to generate power, to do so.
“However, we cannot expect entrepreneurs to make huge investments if they do not have the ability to estimate the return on such investments.
“We therefore lack clear, reliable guidelines that make it possible to calculate such risk.”
Hermann said South Africa’s power supply future lies in decentralisation.
“Eskom will always be part of the South African power supply mix, but the private sector’s share in power supply will have to increase drastically to ensure a sustainable power supply,” said Hermann.
“We will do everything possible to stabilise Eskom but will apply ourselves just as much to increase the private share.”