4 MORE DARK YEARS

Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin during a media briefing regarding the ongoing energy crisis at the Eskom Convention Centre in Midrand. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 29/01/2008. © Sowetan

TIGHT: Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin says electricity emergency plan works. page 5, sow 12/02/08.
Minister of Public Enterprises, Alec Erwin during a media briefing regarding the ongoing energy crisis at the Eskom Convention Centre in Midrand. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 29/01/2008. © Sowetan TIGHT: Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin says electricity emergency plan works. page 5, sow 12/02/08.

South Africans should expect tight energy supply for another four years, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said in Parliament yesterday.

South Africans should expect tight energy supply for another four years, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said in Parliament yesterday.

The country's energy supply problems were no different from that of other developing countries, Erwin told a media briefing.

"We are in exactly the same position as every other developing country."

The current reserve margin was 8 percent while the National Energy Regulator wanted 16 percent. The building of gas-fired power stations and co-generation projects were being sped up to ensure that by 2010 reserve margin would be closer to 15 percent.

A more efficient use of energy should result in a year-on-year growth in a demand of between 4,1 and 3,6 percent, he said. "It was the big jump in peak demand, year-on-year, of just under five percent (that resulted in this crisis)."

The electricity emergency plan was working and had resulted in a significant decrease in demand, Erwin said.

The minister also said efforts to reduce the mining industry's demand were going "quite well". He indicated that further discussions were underway to see if the 90 percent of capacity they were currently operating at could be increased.

At least half of the 40000MW the country expected to be able to generate in the next 20 years would come from nuclear reactors, Erwin said.

A Koeberg-type pressure water reactor would not be on stream before 2015, while a pebble bed modular reactor would not be on line before 2013, he said.

Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica said a nuclear strategy would be finalised this year.

Asked if businesses had brought lawsuits against Eskom for lost revenue caused by power cuts, Erwin said this would depend on the contracts they had signed with the company. - Sapa

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