Tue Oct 25 00:08:17 SAST 2016
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

kept in the dark

By unknown | Jan 23, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Business is not only kept in the dark by Eskom's constant load shedding, but also by the government and the power utility's refusal to talk about South Africa's electricity woes.

US-based research firm NUS Consulting said the most irritating problem is the "unsympathetic bureaucracy one confronts when dealing with an energy supplier".

NUS Consulting said: "The expectation of proper customer service is the right of every consumer. Failing to provide it frustrates not only the customer, but also diminishes the overall effectiveness of the supplier."

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) hopes to get some answers from Eskom today.

Simi Siwisa, Busa director of economic policy, said an "investigative meeting" will be held between senior Eskom executives, including chief executive officer Jacob Maroga, and senior business people who are Busa members.

Along with most South Africans, Busa is seeking clarity on the alphabet soup of government electricity policy.

The market was supposed to be opened to independent power producers (IPPs) who should have been generating 30percent of the country's power by now.

But according to National Energy Regulator of South Africa, IPPs only account for 3percent of generation, municipalities 0,5percent with the country dependent on Eskom for 96,4percent of its power.

Siwisi said while Busa's meeting with Eskom will not be open to the public, the business group will report back to the public.

The opportunity costs to local business from the secrecy of the government and the state monopoly are high.

For instance, a decade ago oil giant Shell lobbied hard to build a power station near Saldanha Bay. By the time government realised it needed private investment to avoid an energy crunch, Shell had abandoned the project and sold its Kudu gas field off the Namibian coast.

Other neighbouring energy supply sources include a coal power station in Botswana being built by Canada's CIC Energy Group.

Despite government's commitment to open the market to private players, red tape appears to remain a huge obstacle.

Stephan Dolk, general manager of NUS Consulting South Africa, said he only knows of one project which has managed to get all the required regulatory approval.

The project, BioTherm, generates 4 MW of power from heat generated at the MossGas plant.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT