President Highlights Advances in Energy Action Plan: A Path Towards Ending Load Shedding?

In his recent address to the National Assembly during The Presidency’s Budget Vote, President Cyril Ramaphosa reaffirmed the government’s commitment to solving the ongoing energy crisis and ending load shedding.

Last year, Ramaphosa unveiled a detailed Energy Action Plan aimed at achieving energy security. The President created the National Energy Crisis Committee and appointed a Minister in The Presidency to monitor its execution. He stated that significant progress has been made over the past nine months in implementing the measures outlined in the Energy Action Plan.

Ramaphosa reported that the government’s initiative to reform private electricity generation has facilitated a boom in new generation projects. More than 100 projects are now under development, totaling over 10,000 MW of new generation capacity. These projects, backed by an investment of more than R200 billion, promise to considerably reduce the shortfall in electricity supply.

The Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), designed to address the current energy deficit and curb reliance on diesel-powered Open Cycle Gas Turbines, has also shown positive outcomes. Several projects have started construction, with more slated to reach financial close in the current quarter.

The President also discussed the unbundling of Eskom into three entities, an approach that has proved successful in many countries. Significant progress has been made in establishing the National Transmission Company of South Africa as an independent subsidiary of Eskom. A budget of R254 billion has been introduced for Eskom’s debt relief, contingent on certain conditions.

President Ramaphosa indicated that the government is working on extensive legislative reforms, including the introduction of the Electricity Amendment Bill and the upcoming Energy Security Bill. These are expected to transform the electricity sector, establish a competitive market, and expedite the construction of renewable energy projects.

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Ramaphosa also addressed the ongoing issue of load shedding, and called on South Africans to help mitigate the energy demand this winter by taking simple actions such as switching off unnecessary lights and appliances, adjusting geyser temperatures, and turning off unneeded equipment. These steps, he suggested, could help reduce the demand by up to 1,000 MW, equivalent to one full stage of load shedding.

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