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Nersa to investigate complaint lodged by DA against CoE

“We have urged Nersa to thoroughly investigate the root causes of these recurrent power outages and ensure that necessary corrective measures are implemented immediately."

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has confirmed it was investigating the complaint laid by the DA against the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE).

Last week, the Kempton Express reported the party laid a formal complaint with the national regulator against the city.

In the complaint, the DA stated the city had repeatedly transgressed its electricity license conditions by subjecting residents and business owners to unacceptable periods without electricity. As a result, it said, services across the city continue to collapse.

Kempton Park Ward 14 Clr Simon Lapping said the frequent disruptions caused considerable distress, inconvenience, and financial losses for residents and businesses.

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“This undermines the quality of life and economic viability of the region.

“These power outages are not merely an inconvenience.

“They directly violate the licensing conditions that govern the operation of electricity distribution facilities as established under the Electricity Regulation Act and administered by Nersa.”

Additionally, he said the act’s objectives emphasise the need for efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, and orderly development of the electricity supply infrastructure in South Africa.

Lapping said the reality in Kempton Park and even Boksburg and Benoni starkly contradict these principles.

“The act mandates that licensees share critical information, such as integrated development plans (IDPs), system performance statistics, 10-year load forecasts, and network development plans.”

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Lapping added the CoE failed to meet these obligations, resulting in ongoing power disruptions and inadequate planning.

He added the CoE’s service level agreement provides the restoration of electricity supply after unplanned power interruptions, up to 24 hours, for single, business and multiple customers.

According to Lapping, the party has called on Nersa to take immediate and decisive action to address the issue.

“We have urged Nersa to thoroughly investigate the root causes of these recurrent power outages and ensure that necessary corrective measures are implemented immediately.

“The impact of these disruptions on our community is profound and cannot be underestimated.

“We believe Nersa, as the regulatory authority, must intervene to uphold the licensing conditions, ensure accountability, and secure the restoration of a stable and uninterrupted electricity supply for our community.”

Lapping said the impact of these recurring power outages extends far beyond mere inconvenience. They compromise local businesses’ ability to operate effectively and profitably.

Nersa’s head of communication, Charles Hlebela, spoke to the Kempton Express on the punishment people or entities may face should they operate any electricity distribution facility without a license.

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“The Electricity Regulation Act does not provide penal provisions for operating an electricity distribution facility without a license.

“In the circumstances, other avenues in law would need to be relied on, including common law interdict.
“There is currently a process underway to amend the act,” he said.

When asked whether the CoE is liable for business losses incurred during power outages, he said the Electricity Regulation Act does not provide for the recovery of financial losses.

“As such, persons who are negatively impacted would need to seek recourse through civil proceedings.”

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Regarding electricity supply issues in the CoE affecting residents in Kempton Park, Boksburg and Benoni, Hlebela said they needed to investigate the issue.

“The complaint of the DA is receiving the necessary attention,” he said.

Hlebela said residents can lodge their own complaints directly with Nersa by visiting www.nersa.org.za

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