Cabinet approves energy guidelines

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which aims to guide government on how it will meet the country's electricity demands.

The plan was formulated under the Electricity Regulation Act to give effect to national policy.

Energy Minister, Dipuo Peters said at a briefing on Thursday that the IRP outlined what it is that government needed to do to ensure that South Africa's lights are kept on.

The IRP will focus on a three-year period and will have an impact on Eskom's Multi Year Price Determination (MYPD2) which it revised earlier this week from an initial 45 percent to 35 percent over the next three years.

In its ordinary meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet approved the plan, saying it would provide the National Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) with the necessary policy framework within which the 2010-2012 Eskom tariff application would be determined.

NERSA is expected to announce its decision on the tariff hike application on 24 February.

Cabinet also noted that the process of alignment with the Eskom's MYPD2 application had been concluded

"Going into 2013 we need to assure South Africans that while we are planning, the lights will be on. In early 2010 we start [developing] the IRP2 calling on stakeholders to participate," said the minister, adding that this would further allow government to include decisions take at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Minister Peters said that South Africa needed to protect its energy mix either through electricity, renewable and nuclear energy.

Commenting on the revised 35 percent tariff application, the minister said: "We are not in favour of rapid increases but we also need to be realistic [in ensuring] that Eskom is capacitated."

She further added that electricity needs to be accessible and should not be a luxury.