Work to protect health facilities from load shedding continues

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says government’s work to shield health facilities from load shedding is continuing.

The Minister was delivering the address for the ministry’s Budget Vote in Parliament.

Government has already identified some 213 hospitals that can be excluded from load shedding, with 76 already not experiencing power cuts and work on a further 46 underway.

“The remaining hospitals have sufficient backup power supply from diesel generators. Nevertheless, diesel costs remain a major expenditure driver, especially during higher load shedding stages.

“Apart from the diesel costs, the electricity costs are significant. An embedded generation option for health facilities (hospitals) will reduce operating costs whilst providing security and quality of supply,” he said.

The Minister said the ministry has already set in motion costing scenarios for the installation of alternative energy sources for hospitals to address “the impact of load shedding and mitigate the impact of high diesel costs on medical facilities”.

“Based on the Department of Health figures, to cover 137 hospitals (varying between small and large), R10.1 billion capital expenditure will be required to provide a combined solar, battery and inverter solution.

“In contrast, for the same 137 small hospitals, diesel generators will cost R89.1 million in capital costs, whilst large hospitals will cost R411 million (capital costs). However, the operating cost (primarily diesel purchase) will cost R3.3 billion and R655 million annually for large and small hospitals, respectively.

“A rapid deployment of embedded generation or 'micro-grid' solutions, including roof-top solar for hospitals, other critical installations, and economic hubs, will be possible through an aggregated power purchase agreement,” he said.

Protecting jobs

Ramokgopa said while government continues to turn the tide against load shedding, work also continues to “support the most vulnerable against the impact and support businesses and industry, protecting jobs and our economic prospects”.

“The Land Bank has established a R2.5 billion fund for farmers to invest in alternative energy solutions to support energy security. This will provide a mix of grant and loan funding, with the grant component ranging from 30 - 70%. National Treasury is finalising adjustments to the Loan Guarantee Scheme to establish an Energy Bounce Back Scheme.

“The Ministry of Electricity is working with the Government Employees Pension Fund to develop a facility to support low-income workers in the Public Sector to afford the upfront capital costs of solar solutions and other load management systems,” Ramokgopa said. –