9 June 2008
The government is completing regulations that will enable it to enforce the Power Conservation Programme, which aims to reduce South Africa’s energy consumption by at least 3 000 megawatts over the next three years, by providing for sanctions against excessive use and wastage of electricity.
“These sanctions will be in the form of a tariff-based penalty, meaning excessive electricity users will pay more, especially where their excess adversely impacts upon the supply to other users,” said Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica last week.
Delivering her budget vote for the 2008/9 financial year in Parliament in Cape Town, she said that the country was facing an emergency with regard to the generation and supply of electricity, a situation that was likely to remain for long unless “drastic interventions and sacrifices” were made.
“We have established the National Emergency Response Team, a partnership between government, business, labour and civil society, to mobilise all of us and ensure that, as South Africa Incorporated, we respond in a coordinated manner to the emergency,” she said.
Sonjica said that Eskom had so far been able to conserve at least 100 megawatts through demand-side management and the country’s collective effort to be more energy conscious, while an additional 1 000 megawatts saving had been achieved through efforts of the industrial sector and local government.
“I would like to specifically thank the mining sector for their contribution to the energy saving campaign,” she said.
The Department of Minerals and Energy budget of R3.6-billion for the 2008/9 financial year indicates an increase of 5.2% from last year’s budget of R2.9-billion of which 0.9% was unspent.
Almost 80% of the budget is for transfer to state-owned enterprises, of which nearly 67% will be set aside for Eskom’s national electrification programme.
Sonjica said her department had finalised the Electricity Pricing Policy, and as agreed at the Electricity Summit this year, would be presenting the policy at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) within the next two weeks.
The intentions of the policy are to set a clear framework on determining electricity prices, to achieve an appropriate balance between meeting social equity and economic growth, to create certainty and predictability and to ensure long-term financial sustainability of the industry.