A proposal in the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill to open the market to allow for competitive electricity trading received strong support during public hearings on the Bill in Limpopo’s Mopani District Municipality yesterday.
The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy held public hearings yesterday at Thomo Community Hall in Giyani to solicit views on the Bill, which seeks to introduce reforms in electricity generation in order to address South Africa’s current energy crisis.
Residents supporting the Bill told the committee that the proposed amendments would augment electricity generation and ensure the country’s security of energy supply. They also said that Eskom must compete with other companies in the electricity generation sector,as in the telecommunications sector, where state enterprise Telkom competes with the private sector.
Others raised concerns that the opening of the market to allow for competitive electricity trading will result in high prices, which will disadvantage the poor. There were also those who argued that this was an attempt to sell Eskom to the private sector and it must not be allowed to continue. Other citizens told the committee that they are not convinced that Eskom does not have capacity, nor do they believe it needs assistance from private power generators; they argued that the state electricity company is just poorly managed.
Committee Chairperson Mr Sahlulele Luzipo thanked the people of Mopani and commended them for speaking to exactly what the Bill is about. “We take your views very seriously; no input is less important. We understand that this is a very emotive and serious matter in our society and your views are important for this process to review or amend the legislation,” said the Chairperson.
The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill aims to effect changes to the Electricity Regulation Act in order to provide for additional electricity generation capacity and infrastructure, as well as the establishment of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd.
The draft legislation also seeks an open market platform that will allow for competitive electricity trading; and to assign the duties, powers and functions of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd to the National Transmission Company South Africa SOC Ltd.
Today, the committee will continue with public hearings in Sekhukhune District Municipality at ELCSA Lutheran Church in Motetema, starting at 10h00.