President Cyril Ramaphosa has pinned his endeavour to secure a sustainable and reliable energy supply for South Africa on the complete reform of the energy system, which is proposed in the Electricity Regulations Amendment (ERA) Bill [B23-2023]. The ERA Bill is before Parliament and it is currently being processed by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy.

“We are reforming our energy system to make it more competitive, sustainable and reliable into the future,” said President Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address last night.

Furthermore, he said that the government has tabled the ERA Bill to position the country’s economy for future growth in a world where climate change and green technologies have taken centre stage.

As part of the energy system reform, the ERA Bill is proposing, amongst other things, the restructuring of Eskom to establish a competitive electricity market. The competition will largely be in the electricity generation space because, in its current form, the Bill is proposing that anyone generating electricity for their own private use can register with the National Energy Regulator to sell electricity that is surplus to their needs to the state.

President Ramaphosa said that with the help of private investment through innovative models, government is going to build more than 14 000 kilometres of new transmission lines to accommodate renewable energy over the coming years. He said that government is undertaking a just energy transition at a pace, scale and cost that the country can afford to ensure energy security, reduce carbon emissions, fight climate change, and create growth and jobs for South Africans.

Lastly on progress regarding the ERA Bill, the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy is at the stage of considering a consolidated report on written and oral submissions made during the public hearings in all nine provinces. After that, the committee will deliberate on the report and discuss the Bill clause by clause. The final stage will culminate with a committee report, which will be tabled in the National Assembly for a debate and adoption.

Justice Molafo

9 February 2024