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Summit to resolve energy crisis underway

by Luyanda Makapela
on 16 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The National Stakeholder Summit on Electricity is currently underway to find solutions to the current energy emergency in the country and agreement regarding the proposed electricity hikes by Eskom.

Addressing delegates at the Sandton Convention Centre on Friday, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said the summit would give all stakeholders a platform to debate the electricity emergency in the country.

The government ministers and officials, labour stakeholders, community members, businesses and organisations attending the summit will seek to find solutions to the energy crisis and debate the proposed 53 percent electricity hike proposed by Eskom.

"Electricity is a key input into our community and is a basic need for most households.

"Any price increase will have to be treated with sensitivity and subjected to consultation with all the affected stakeholders," the minister said.

She said the long term sustainability of the industry, however, must also be considered.

"We need to ensure fair access to all sectors of the population while striving for a sustainable environment," she said.

Presenting the Nedlac Agreement on Electricity Emergency, Hebert Mkhize said it was necessary to move towards an electricity tariff that ensured sustainable development in the industry.

He said constituencies needed to monitor the implementation of the electricity emergency management plans, while avoiding burdening poor households and impacting on growth, employment and business.

With regard to Eskom demand side management, Mr Mkhize said: "This should not be included in the power utilities and electricity tariff allocation over a five year period in order to ease the burden of tariff increases in the short term."

Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi agreed that a better understanding of the possibilities of direct state investment was needed while managing tariffs to ensure the burden did not fall on poor households.

The summit will later on Friday announce the agreement and deliberations by various stakeholders on the way forward, which will be taken to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), for consideration. - BuaNews

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