SALGA calls for financially viable energy solutions

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

South African Local Government Association (SALGA) President Parks Tau says the changes in the energy sector, which has seen businesses going off-the-grid could cripple municipalities in future, adding that the time has come for sustainable solutions to municipal revenue.

“The growing number of businesses that are operating off-the-grid indicates an increase in the consumption of clean energy. The lesser the number of companies connected to the grid, the greater the chances for our municipalities to be financially unviable. 

“This then calls for all stakeholders attending the Energy Summit from today to find sustainable solutions to municipal revenue generation mechanisms,” said Tau.

The SALGA head was speaking ahead of the opening of the SALGA Energy Summit which kicks off at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon.   

The Summit brings together high ranking political leadership in the country, stakeholders in the finance, economics and the energy sector.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a keynote address at the opening of the Summit. The President will be accompanied by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize.

SALGA President Tau said the association is concerned about the monopolization of energy by national power utility, Eskom, and there is a need to bring in competitors in the energy sector.

“As part of the medium-term solutions, we remain convinced that there is a need to unbundle the role of the national power utility, Eskom, within the energy value chain. Ours must be to invest in a reciprocal energy sector whose collective quest is to aid economic growth and reduce the financial burden on citizens,” said Tau. 

Tau said his association will use the Summit to discuss how changes in the energy sector will affect local government and how municipalities can better prepare for these changes.

“There is a shift away from centralised generation and distribution monopolies to more distributed, user-engaged, digitally integrated energy systems,” said Tau.

In a bid to find solutions, Tau said SALGA would look at how the transition manifests economically, legally and financially for local government; how the energy economy can potentially unlock job creation and stimulate economic development.

In addition, President Tau said SALGA would propose a legislative framework that will assist in the alignment between national and local energy planning.

He said the drop in the sale of electricity calls for municipalities to seize arising opportunities and minimise potential risks associated with the introduction of renewable energy technologies in the domestic electricity system. 

“These dynamics have radical implications for local municipalities that are compelled to re-define their role in the electricity value chain and adapt their funding and operating models.”

Tau said the timing of the Summit is impeccable as it coincides with new political leadership which he hopes will challenges every participant at the gathering to rise to the task that awaits.

“As SALGA, we hope that the spirit of ‘Thuma Mina’, ‘Send Me’ - will challenge each and every participant in this Summit to get involved in creating a sustainable energy future in our municipalities, provinces and throughout South Africa,” said Tau. – SAnews.gov.za

 

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