The Guard

The Truth On Board

Electricity industry has evolved – dept

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – The provincial legislature’s portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and the Office of the Premier came to Maluti-a-Phofung (MAP) on April 16 to gather inputs from the community regarding the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill.

The main purpose of the Bill is to effect amendments to the Act to do the following: improve the administration of the Act; provide for additional electricity, new generation capacity and electricity infrastructure; provide for the establishment, duties, powers and functions of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd; provide for an open market platform that will allow for competitive electricity trading; assign the duties, powers and functions of the Transmission System Operator SOC Ltd to the National Transmission Company South Africa SOC Ltd; provide for delegation and assignment; provide for offences and penalties, and provide for transitional provisions.

According to a representative from the department of mineral resources and energy under electricity policy, Joseph Maraba, the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, seeks to amend the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006 (Act No. 4 of 2006).
“From 2006 to 2024, it is 18 years of this act, but the industry has evolved. We have witnessed renewable energy come into play, we saw cable theft, vandalism of electricity infrastructure, and we saw the energy availability of Eskom drop. The government realized that it had to intervene.

“Things have changed but the legal framework does not talk to these changes. From 2006 Eskom used to deal with the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity but it started to struggle with transmission that is why we have started to experience load-shedding,” Maraba said.

A resident of Ficksburg, Mpaka Mofokeng, asked if the price of electricity will adversely impact the poor if these changes are implemented.
“I want to find out if Eskom is unbundled as stated by the presenter of the bill, meaning that there will be an entity for generation, an entity for transmission and an entity for distribution, will this not affect the price of electricity and somehow have a negative impact on the poor? I feel like all this has been done purposely to give a monopoly on the industry to rich people. I think we shouldn’t rush and really look at this bill very carefully. I do not support this bill,” Mofokeng said.

Standing chairperson of the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and office of the the premier Sam Mashinini.

Despite coming from an informal settlement in Harrismith without electricity Sabelo Tshabalala was among those who supported the bill,
In response to the concerns raised, Maraba said that the price of electricity will not be affected by the unbundling of Eskom.

He emphasized that Eskom is unbundled to deal with Eskom issues and the price of electricity is independently regulated and will remain regulated.
“This bill will allow for those who want to participate in this industry to have the freedom to do so.”