Pretoria - Government is looking into ways to reduce electricity tariff increases and will soon make a pronouncement on the matter, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters says.
"The on-going concern from business and communities about high electricity costs is receiving serious attention. The Department of Energy, relevant departments and Eskom are looking at other ways of reducing electricity tariff increases, meaning lower bills for businesses for which electricity is the major cost input to most business and key industries," explained Peters.
In the State of the Nation Address delivered earlier this month, President Jacob Zuma said he had asked Eskom to look at other ways of reducing its price increase.
"Government will announce a way forward in this regard soon," Peters said at a BMF breakfast meeting in the Northern Cape on Monday.
Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy services is essential to creating jobs and poverty alleviation while alternative energy sources can also have positive economic and social impacts in informal settlements and remote areas.
Diversification of the country's energy mix is important. "We pursue a balanced energy mix and for us, the different energy sources are not seen as competitive but rather they are supportive as none can exclusively meet the electricity needs of our country," she explained.
The department is working on the second round of renewable energy projects after the first round of over 1 200MW of renewable energy project was successfully tendered.
The Energy Department intends to continue to create an enabling environment for the sustainable use of different energy resources in its energy collaboration within the country and throughout the world.
The minister called on business to pursue partnerships with foreign investors.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the use of energy saving light bulbs, significant savings have been made.
In the national budget tabled last week, R600 million has been located to municipalities to install low-energy lighting and equipment, while an additional R4.7 billion has been allocated to complete the installation of one million solar water geysers. A total of R300 million was set aside for the electrification of informal settlements.
"I urge business to see potential in assisting government in achieving its mandate in the energy sector," noted the minister.
An incentive programme is being looked at for companies investing in energy efficiency. "Government is looking at more incentive for this programme," she said.
On the shortage of LPG last year of which the Northern Cape was also affected, some retailers had shown a lack of interest in pursuing further retailing of LPG because of struggles to access it from suppliers.
"This creates a challenge that informs us that there is a need to look at increasing the supply of LPG and investments in the expansion of the distribution network.
Peters urged South Africans to save electricity.