Team to deal with power crunch

The South African Cabinet is to appoint a team of officials from the ministries of minerals and energy, water affairs and forestry, public enterprises and trade and industry to develop a comprehensive Electricity Master Plan for the country.

In a statement released on Wednesday 21 November, government chief spokesman Themba Maseko said that cabinet’s decision followed the presentation of a draft Electricity Master Plan which showed the rise in demand for energy caused by the high rate of economic growth and South Africa’s continued reliance on coal as an energy source.

South Africa has been experiencing rolling blackouts over the past few years as demand outstrips supply.

The comprehensive Electricity Master Plan will include increasing capacity and improving the reliability of the electricity infrastructure, providing reasonably priced electricity, ensuring security of supply as set out in the security of supply standards, diversifying energy sources and meeting the renewable energy targets.

The investment in maintenance and rehabilitation of infrastructure and the quality of supply of electricity will be regulated in future, the statement said.

It’s expected that this plan will enable the government to make the correct investment decisions to meet South Africa’s extensive energy requirements as the economy continues to grow.

Some of the strategic considerations will include the skills development and management; the need for investment in research and technology and meeting demands that are a result of the rise in fixed capital formation by both the public and private sectors, including economic activities associated with the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

In the meantime, the Maseko said, Eskom’s investment strategy to increase the generation capacity and local government investments in maintenance of existing infrastructure will continue and will form part of the comprehensive Electricity Master plan.

The final plan will be finalised and approved next year.

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