In a letter to City Press, Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Mpho Phalatse, said local government should take charge of electricity supply and end the failed Eskom model.
“Johannesburg, in particular, has the infrastructure to do so successfully through a well-managed City Power that is free of patronage and cadre deployment,” she said.
“City Power will include a new programme to provide stable, economically advantageous electricity supply to areas such as Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, and Sandton.”
She said the DA would not support any proposal where Sandton or other Johannesburg residents are subjected to higher electricity rates.
“Those who can afford to pay must pay for their electricity, and those who cannot afford to must be ably assisted,” Phalatse said.
“Illegal connections must be ended, and poor revenue collection and breakdown of infrastructure must be turned around.”
To ensure a stable electricity supply, the DA plans to buy electricity from a diverse pool of independent power producers.
“The competition among power producers can help drive down the cost of electricity for residents,” Phalatse said.
Phalatse’s letter about electricity supply in Johannesburg came only a day before Eskom and the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) announced they had entered into a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the transfer or sale of electricity distribution in certain parts of the city from Eskom to City Power.
Eskom emphasised that the transaction has not yet been concluded with affected stakeholders who are also expected to participate in the decision-making process.
“Should an agreement be reached on the discussions, the parties will seek the requisite regulatory approvals and give the affected customers an opportunity to contribute to a settlement in a public participation process,” Eskom said.
“Among the regulators from whom approvals are required are the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), National Treasury, and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.”
Areas expected to be affected by the transfer or sale include parts of Soweto, Sandton, Orange Farm, Ivory Park and Diepsloot.
The DA’s plan to fix the electricity crisis
Phalatse’s plan for Johannesburg forms part of the DA’s Integrated Electricity Management Operator (IEMO) bill and the Cheaper Energy Bill.
The DA said its plans would drive the cost of electricity down, introduce competition into the energy sector, and diversify the country’s energy sources to introduce more renewables.
“As Eskom drags the economy down with it, we continue to urge the government to get out of the electricity generation business,” the DA said.
Its plans include:
- Privatise electricity generation. It includes allowing citizens to generate their own power to keep the lights on.
- Change the law so businesses and individuals can sell the extra electricity they generate onto the grid for others to use.
- Offer a R75,000 tax rebate to cover the cost of installing solar systems in homes to take pressure off the grid.
- Zero-rate VAT on LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances.
- Allow municipalities to purchase power from Independent Power Producers, rather than having to rely on Eskom.