DA promises to source electricity from other suppliers to curb loadshedding if voted into power

DA leader John Steenhuisen.
DA leader John Steenhuisen.
Image: Esa Alexander

DA leader John Steenhuisen says municipalities should be able to easily get electricity from independent power producers to curb reliance on inept Eskom.

Speaking at the campaign rally in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, Steenhuisen said Eskom problems have been there and government’s promise to end loadshedding has not been realised. The power utility is currently subjecting the country to stage 4 loadshedding, which will continue until 5am on Friday.

He said loadshedding had a severe impact on all South Africans, forcing businesses to close, shrinking the economy and compelling matriculants to study in candlelight as they prepare for their exams. With such a huge impact in people’s lives, Steenhuisen said his party would move to source power from other suppliers where it rules after November 1 local government election.

“Wherever you give us power we are going to move to make sure that you are kept independent of Eskom. We will get out there and ensure we get independent power producers from which municipalities will buy power.

“That will keep factories open. We will march into that space because the national government has failed,” he said.

Eskom  announced that it is jumping to Stage 4 loadshedding at noon on Wednesday, and this will continue until 5am on Friday. 

Thereafter loadshedding would continue on stage 2 until 5am on Saturday.

The power utility said over the past 24 hours a unit each at Medupi, Kusile and Matla power stations tripped, while a unit each at Lethabo and Arnot power stations were forced to shut down.

Tripping of these units then constrained the power system, further requiring extensive use of emergency reserves, the power utility said.

The DA has been on the forefront of the call to allow municipalities to get their electricity from independent power producers.

Last month, mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe gazetted amendments to the electricity regulations opening the way for municipalities in good financial standing to develop their own power generation projects.

The City of Cape Town, which is governed by the DA, is currently compiling what it describes as a “mini” integrated resource plan (IRP) to guide its future procurement decisions and actions as it also wants to end its dependence on Eskom.

In Johannesburg, the metro recently announced a 220MW agreement with Kelvin Power Station in order to prevent loadshedding from being implemented at its early phases. But Eskom went ahead over the weekend implementing loadshedding, arguing it needed the relief for the system.

The city wants to secure 35% of the city’s electricity needs from renewable and cleaner sources of energy by 2030.

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