Pretoria - In the latest of a series of legal battles emanating from the ongoing energy crisis in the country, trade union Solidarity yesterday served legal documents on the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to increase private power generation.
Solidarity said Eskom’s inability to alleviate the country’s power crisis meant that South Africa needed to urgently head towards private generation supply.
It initiated legal action against Nersa to remove all bottlenecks in the way of private energy suppliers. Solidarity said that when it came to energy in the country, the future lay in less state and more private service delivery.
“The first step is to force Nersa, through a disclosure process, to disclose information about why so few licences have been awarded to private generators of power and so few private generation licenses have been granted,” Dirk Hermann, Solidarity CEO said.
He added that based on this information, it would be possible to determine where the bottlenecks were and what further steps needed to be taken to remove these obstacles.
In the application, Solidarity demands, that it be furnished with information about the number of applications for private power generation that Nersa has received, and to know how long approvals of applications take.
In addition, Solidarity demands that Nersa account for why no guidelines on feed-in and wheeling tariffs have been published to date.
“The most significant protest action against the current power situation in the country lies in generating power oneself. Through our application we want to enable everyone, especially entrepreneurs who want to generate power, to do so.
“However, we cannot expect entrepreneurs to make huge investments if they do not have the ability to estimate the return on such investments. We therefore lack clear, reliable guidelines that make it possible to calculate such risk,” Hermann said.
“Eskom will always be part of the South African power supply mix, but the private sector’s share in power supply will have to increase drastically to ensure a sustainable power supply.”
Eskom is facing a plethora of legal challenges this year, with a group of lawyers who have issued a letter of demand to Eskom over the load shedding crisis, as well as AfriForum, which has requested information from Eskom regarding the utility’s controversial contracts. AfriForum is gearing up to meet Eskom in court in a bid to receive information on active contracts that Eskom has with various service providers.