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Cape Town demands control of its power supply

Read time 2min 20sec
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says for the sake of our country's economy, the entire electricity regime needs to be urgently restructured.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says for the sake of our country's economy, the entire electricity regime needs to be urgently restructured.

The City of Cape Town is blasting Eskom's move to no longer sign power purchase agreements with private producers after the current round is finalised.

Last week, the power utility announced it will no longer procure renewable energy from the successful bidders which came through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme.

The move to forego the renewable energy commitment has been criticised by industry players, with the Democratic Alliance saying it could lead to electricity shortages and blackouts in SA.

In a statement, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says the city demands energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to allow the city to procure renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs).

According to De Lille, the country's outdated electricity regime forces the city to be wholly dependent on Eskom for energy requirements. "We will not sit back passively waiting to be crippled by Eskom's decision, especially amid rapidly escalating electricity prices."

She says: "I wrote to the minister of energy in November last year asking for what is termed a Section 34 determination to allow us to procure 150MW solar energy and 280MW of wind energy from IPPs.

"The city wants to be able to purchase renewable energy because, as a responsible government, we have to ensure Cape Town works and that we put the needs of our residents and economy first.

"If we are allowed to procure renewable energy, we can reduce the long-term electricity costs for our residents and provide a greater measure of protection against energy insecurity and Eskom's load-shedding."

De Lille has called for a restructure of the entire South African electricity industry and a halt to Eskom's monopoly status.

"Eskom's refusal to buy this cheaper source of energy could lead to it being forced to procure energy from far more expensive options such as nuclear power, which will have a knock-on effect of much higher electricity prices for South African consumers."

"This, once again, confirms Eskom is determined to entrench its monopoly status and views the R193 billion private investment that has flowed into renewable energy as a threat to this status," she says.

De Lille states the city will not accept a lack of response from the minister. "Should we not receive a positive response, we are considering all our options to secure our right to take control of our energy future, including possible legal action."

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