DA to re-table Cheaper Energy Bill in parliament

Spain's electricity giant Iberdrola saw renewables sales jump 28 percent thanks to a rise in production of wind, hydro and to a lesser extent solar energy. AFP/File/PATRICIA CASTELLANOS

Spain's electricity giant Iberdrola saw renewables sales jump 28 percent thanks to a rise in production of wind, hydro and to a lesser extent solar energy. AFP/File/PATRICIA CASTELLANOS

The party is looking to capitalize on the recent resignation of Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe.

On the back of another blow to Eskom’s stability, this time the resignation of CEO Phakamani Hadebe, the Democratic Alliance will re-table its Independent Systems Market Operator (ISMO) Bill, known as the Cheaper Energy Bill, the party said on Sunday.

“It is clear that there was no political will for Mr Hadebe to succeed. Any progress in addressing the systemic rot at the crucial entity was made difficult and this was compounded by the fact that he was held ransom by the trade unions. It is plain as day that the rot is so deep that there is no option but to completely restructure Eskom,” DA spokeswoman Natasha Mazzone said.

Eskom’s monopolistic stranglehold on electricity production and distribution had to be broken. The DA had a plan to stabilise and secure South Africa’s power supply, and this was contained in its Cheaper Energy Bill which sought to break Eskom into two separate entities – a generation and transmission/distribution entity, she said.

This would reduce the cost of electricity, bring about much-needed competition, and ensure that South Africa was not being forced to pay for the corruption and mismanagement which had taken place at Eskom.

At the same time, Eskom needed to start trimming the fat around its employment expenses, especially considering its bloated workforce, Mazzone said.

The DA had also written to the new Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise, requesting a debate of national importance on the unfolding financial crisis at Eskom. This followed recent media reports that contractors working at Kusile Power Station had submitted claims totalling R36 billion to the financially crippled Eskom.

“Eskom and our economy are in deep trouble. Experts estimate that each stage of rolling blackouts, euphemistically referred to as ‘load shedding’, costs the country R1 billion per stage, per day.

“With unacceptably high levels of unemployment, and half of young South Africans unable to find work, we need solutions and not more talk shops. In order to stabilise Eskom, which will now be without a CEO from July, action must be taken.

“The DA will, therefore, implore other political parties in the National Assembly to support our bill in the best interest of our country, its economy, and ultimately, the people. The DA wishes Mr Hadebe good health and best wishes in his future endeavours,” Mazzone said.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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