ANC wants your house and your business to invest in renewable energies to help reduce load shedding

 ·7 Jul 2022

With stage 6 load shedding the norm over the past week in South Africa, the ruling African National Party (ANC) has called for immediate and long-term interventions that will ensure sustainable energy security.

The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) deliberated on the energy crisis facing the country, and the impact of load shedding on the country during its executive committee meeting held over the weekend.

It urged its government deployees and state company Eskom to consider the following measures:

  • Increase maintenance and improve the availability of existing supply;
  • Eskom should acquire appropriate skills and experienced mentors;
  • Speed up the repurposing of power stations with alternate energy sources;
  • Accelerate the procurement of battery storage;
  • Empower municipalities to procure additional electricity; and
  • Encourage businesses and households to invest in renewable energies.

“Government must speed up reforms in the energy sector,” the ANC said. It emphasised the need for immediate interventions to “alleviate the plight of South Africans,” as well as the “pursuit of longer-term systemic interventions to ensure sustainable energy security”.

“As they deal and look into this situation they must also come up with a package of incentives that they will be able to give to the general public to allow them to use alternatives.

“So we are hopeful that while government outlines its own plans, it will also be able to say this is what we will be doing to support small businesses. This is what we are going to be doing to aid indigent households,” said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

He conceded that not everyone will be able to afford this, and will need support.

The political party’s top brass held its ordinary session on 2 – 4 July, focussing on the critical issues facing the country, most notably, load shedding, and the rising cost of living in South Africa.

News24 reported on Thursday (7 July), that Eskom plans to rehire former employees to mentor and train staff lacking the necessary skills to keep the lights on.

“It is also, at last, bringing in the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to conduct maintenance on parts of its plants where its own engineers and artisans are having difficulty,” News24 reported.

Eskom’s chief executive Andre de Ruyter said: “We are now in the process of bringing in previous employees. It has been difficult due to legacy race issues, which are still sensitive and we cannot be oblivious to that. But from the perspective of the shareholder, there has been strong support for this on the basis that they come in to transfer skills.”

Chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer said that a list of 45 former employees has been compiled.

“Eskom was a world-class utility and had world-class skills. At that time we had a pipeline of skills, we had succession planning, technical training, and coaching and mentorship programmes. People went up the ladder and they were ready when they were appointed. A warm body in a chair does not mean the person has the skills. This is where Eskom went wrong.”

Eskom said in a statement earlier this week, that it hopes to taper down load shedding to stage 2 after labour groups agreed to a wage offer from the state-owned power utility, ending a week of illegal protests.

Heavy toll

Eskom said on Wednesday (6 July) that the high number of incidents of electricity equipment failure has put a strain on its ability to replace and restore supply to affected areas across the country’s most populous province, Gauteng.

It highlighted challenges with limited stock levels of mini-substations and transformers due to equipment failure as a result of network overloading.

This, it said, was caused by illegal connections, metre bypassing and tampering, unauthorised operations on the network, infrastructure vandalism and theft, as well as nonpayment and non-purchasing of legal electricity tokens.

“Though we are faced with the challenge of equipment shortages, the manufacturers have committed to continue to prioritise Eskom as they understand the impact this has on Gauteng as the economic hub, essential services and communities in the province,” said Mashangu Xivambu, senior manager for maintenance and operations in Gauteng.

The power utility said it has to date successfully replaced and repaired 116 of 181 damaged mini-substations and 1,326 of 2,314 transformers at a cost of R152m.

However, it said that the high demand for equipment that requires repairs or replacement continues to make it difficult to meet demand.

Read: South Africa approves $8.5 billion plan to move away from coal

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter