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Programme Management Office to coordinate electricity efforts

by Vivian Warby
on 15 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Cabinet has approved the proposal to set up an office to coordinate all efforts that deal with the electricity emergency as well as track and report on related initiatives.

The Programme Management Office (PMO) will be set up with immediate effect.

Speaking in Cape Town on Thursday, following a cabinet meeting, Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko said the office would also provide technical support and ensure that the decisions of the National Electricity Response Team (NERT) on the electricity emergency were implemented.

"The PMO will be set up under the auspices of the Department of Minerals and Energy and will include industry experts as well as officials seconded from government departments," Mr Maseko said.

He also said that the electricity pricing policy was approved in Cabinet on Wednesday.

The policy sought to ensure that:

* the electricity value chain contributes to economic growth,

* universal access to electricity;

* creates an investor friendly pricing structure that promotes efficient cost-recovery measures and a reasonable return on investment;

* environmentally friendly usage of resources;

* open and non-discriminatory access to the transmission system and

* greater levels of transparency on electricity prices to the users.

The details of the policy would be announced and discussed on Friday with stakeholders at the NEDLAC-convened National Stakeholder Summit on Electricity at the Sandton Convention Centre, he said.

The meeting also noted that preparations for the summit were at an advanced stage.

"Preliminary discussions between government and all the key stakeholders were taking place to ensure that consensus was reached at the summit.

"Government is confident that the summit will be an important milestone in the process of building a strong partnership to manage the electricity emergency," Mr Maseko said.

However, Mr Maseko said, the reality was that the final decision-making lay with the national regulator.

"Even if the summit came up with ideas on the new price hikes, for instance, the final decision would be with the national regulator."

Some of the issues to be discussed at the summit would include whether the smoothing over of the price hike would take place over a three-year or a five-year period.

The report on the work of the Joint Presidential Working Group on the National Electricity Emergency was also tabled and noted, said Mr Maseko.

South Africa's electricity crisis hit full throttle in January this year. A programme for load-shedding, which was implemented earlier in the year, was suspended two weeks ago, mainly because usage had been cut substantially. - BuaNews

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