Government has finally submitted to Parliament the Draft Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill.
One of the main objectives of the Bill is to establish a national regulatory framework for the electricity supply industry.
The Bill, tabled by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe was included on the Announcements, Tabling’s and Committee Reports of the National Assembly for the legislative process to begin.
The Bill has been in the making since its approval by cabinet for public comments, last year.
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The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy says it will comment on the Bill once it has started working on it.
The South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA) says the Bill will address electricity challenges like load shedding.
SAIPPA Chairperson Brian Day says, “Along with the unbundling of Eskom to form the transmission operator, this creates a legislative framework that will facilitate a lot more investments into the electricity industry. And this in the medium term will go a long way towards reducing load shedding.”
Day is hopeful that the Bill will be processed before next year’s elections.
“We really hope that the Bill can be passed in this session of parliament because with the elections coming up in the first half of next year there is a lot of time pressure to consider and process the Bill during this sixth Parliament.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Kevin Mileham says the Bill is long overdue.
“A transformation opening of South Africa’s electricity sector is long overdue. In this regard, the amendments of the electricity act are vital. Of concern, however, is the fact that this draft bill is very late in coming into parliament. The Bill is currently in the early stages of the parliamentary process with much still to be done in terms of the public participation and the detail analysis of the proposals. It is highly unlikely that this Bill will be considered and passed before this upcoming elections in mid-2024. In the meantime, the electricity crises will further burden our economy and the lives and the livelihood of all South Africans.”
This while the ATM spokesperson, Zama Ntshona criticised the Bill, saying it is not a solution to the country’s electricity challenges.
“As the African Transformation Movement, we are of the view that the Energy Regulation Bill is at face value to be a solid strategy by the government in providing solutions to the never ending blackouts that they have plagued the country. Yet it is actually a get-out-of-jail card that only seeks to evade the processes of accountability in Eskom. The purported provision of an electricity trading platform on a multi-market basis that will provide access to the transmission network on a none discriminatory basis is a back door for the independent power producers to be introduced into the system,” says Ntshona.
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