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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Ramaphosa’s Necom releases update on plans to end load shedding

The president has instructed law enforcement agencies to ramp up efforts to protect electricity infrastructure.


As the country battles excessive load shedding, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Energy Crisis Committee (Necom) has released a six-month progress update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan to end the rolling power cuts.

The update follows a period of load shedding which was escalated to stage 6 due to a high number of breakdowns across Eskom’s generation fleet.

Load shedding

Households and businesses are suffering under the devastating impact of the blackouts with angry and frustrated South Africans calling on Ramaphosa to find a solution to the crisis.

The deepening energy crisis also forced the president to cancel his working visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

ALSO READ: Weekend: Eskom drops load shedding to lower stages

Addressing energy crisis

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said during the past week, Ramaphosa convened the Necom in order to accelerate government’s efforts to reduce load shedding.

“He has also engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including political parties, labour unions, business associations, community groups, interfaith leaders, traditional leaders, premiers and mayors to ensure a collective response to this national challenge,” Magwenya said in a statement on Saturday.

Progress

Magwenya said the progress update outlined important steps that have been taken to follow through on the commitments announced by Ramaphosa.

“These include schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act has been amended to remove the licensing requirement for generation projects, which will significantly accelerate private investment.”

“Since the licensing threshold was first raised to 100 MW, the pipeline of private sector projects has grown to more than 100 projects with over 9000 MW of capacity. The first of these large-scale projects are expected to connect to the grid by the end of this year,” Magwenya said.

New generation capacity

Magwenya said a new ministerial determination has also been published for 14771 MW of new generation capacity from wind, solar and battery storage to accelerate further bid windows.

“An additional 300 MW has been imported through the Southern African Power Pool, and negotiations are underway to secure a potential 1,000 MW from neighbouring countries starting this year.”

“A team of independent experts has been established to work closely with Eskom to diagnose the problems at poorly performing power stations and take action to improve plant performance,” he said.

Power stations under focus

Magwenya added that six power stations have been identified for particular focus over the coming months through a comprehensive Generation Recovery Plan, with oversight from the new Eskom board.

“While the power system remains constrained in the short term, these measures will reduce the frequency and severity of load shedding as new capacity is brought online.”

Ramaphosa said South Africans are “right to demand immediate action to address the devastating impact of load shedding on our lives and on the economy”

“The Energy Action Plan provides a clear way out of this crisis. We do not need any new plans – we are focusing on implementing this plan fully and effectively to achieve energy security for all South Africans.”

Law enforcement

Magwenya said Ramaphosa has further instructed law enforcement agencies to ramp up efforts to protect electricity infrastructure.

“A special meeting of the National Security Council will be convened in the next week to receive a report on operations underway to disrupt criminal syndicates and address theft and sabotage at several power stations.”

Read the full update on the Energy Action Plan below:

Ramaphosa’s plan

To respond to the severe impact of load shedding on households, small businesses and the economy as a whole, Ramaphosa announced a range of measures in July 2022 to improve the performance of existing power stations and add new generation capacity as quickly as possible.

Magwenya said further updates will be provided on a regular basis regarding progress in implementing the Energy Action Plan.

Compiled by Faizel Patel.

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