Many South Africans have been awaiting the next round of power cuts with bated breath, despite power utility Eskom keeping mum on whether this will happen.
Yesterday, Parliament tabled the Independent Electricity Management Operator Bill for discussion, which outlines proposed plans for Eskom. The bill was brought forward by the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has internally labelled it the “cheaper electricity” bill.
The bill aims to break Eskom into two separate entities – one entity for electricity generation, and the other for distribution of electricity.
Within the bill, the generation entity will have private funders to break the power utility’s current monopoly, and allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to compete to fund the utility.
This will then also allow municipalities to purchase electricity directly from IPPs, instead of Eskom itself.
DA spokesperson Natasha Mazzone explains that the bill may go forward as it is:
– Is financially viable;
– Would manage the systems entrusted to it in an efficient manner;
– Would act as a trader of electricity in line with the policies of national government;
– Would prepare appropriate and guiding input for the planning of electricity supply and its transmission;
– Is responsible and achieves the establishment, practice and maintenance of an integrated power system;
– Would ensure both efficient and effective dispatch within this integrated system.
“It cannot be denied that Eskom has effectively become a zombie enterprise that is both overinflated and riddled with corruption,” Mazzone adds. “It currently serves as both the main generator and the central purchaser and distributor of electricity. It marginalises independent power producers to maintain the stranglehold that it has over energy production at the expense of end-users, who have to endure hours of load-shedding as a result. It has become an archaic entity suffering from institutionalised maladministration so severe that it threatens every aspect of South African life.”