Eskom’s De Ruyter meets with CEOs to hash out solutions

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter
Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has urged the CEOs of South Africa’s private institutions to take advantage of electricity industry reforms, as the government works on solutions to end the power crisis.

De Ruyter’s call came after a meeting between Eskom and the CEOs on Friday.

The meeting, which was led by the JSE and Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), was attended by more than 70 private institutions.

“The purpose of the discussions was to identify initiatives where the parties can collaborate and plant the seeds of opportunity to leverage private sector investment capacity and harvest the low-hanging fruit in the electricity industry,” De Ruyter said in a statement on Sunday.

He outlined four areas where businesses can contribute:

  • Using land leasing and wheeling (energy transportation) arrangements for opportunities to invest in their own-generation projects and independent power producers;
  • Having coordinated energy efficiency campaigns to encourage responsible electricity use;
  • Providing security support to ensure that electricity infrastructure is protected from vandalism and theft; and
  • Contributing to enabling polices in the energy and industrial sectors, as well as the fiscus and environment.

The CEOs made a pledge to support Eskom’s plan by collaborating with the government and would also develop a delivery framework, through the BLSA.

The meetings will be extended to Cape Town and Durban, which both have large electricity users and potential investors.

In his national address on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a 10-point power crisis plan, including the removal of licencing requirements for private energy projects.

This followed changes to regulations that enable municipalities to purchase power independently.

Eskom has also earmarked land next to its power stations n Mpumalanga for renewable energy projects.

The project will result in 1 800MW of new capacity, the power utility also found additional land for the projects.

“President Ramaphosa’s plan literally opens the door for investors and entrepreneurs to provide solutions that can have many other indirect and positive consequences for our country, especially when it comes to creating jobs,” said JSE CEO Leila Fourie.

Earlier this month, South Africa’s load shedding went up as high as Stage 6 before it was suspended.

The country has been grappling with electricity supply for more than a decade.

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