Free State wants own power
Bloemfontein - The Free State needs to generate its own electricity for greater control of its own destiny, Premier Ace Magashule said on Thursday.
Speaking on the self sustainability of the provincial economy, Magashule said generating electricity in the province was essential for it to reach economic growth.
"Power generation becomes a value-adding activity in the value chain for the exploitation of the Free State coal reserves," Magashule said in his State of the Province address in Bloemfontein.
The Free State electricity customer base was anticipated to grow once infrastructure projects, such as the development of the province’s coal reserves, got underway.
Magashule said the provincial government would be talking to the national government and state-owned enterprises to achieve the objective of establishing a power generating plant in the Free State.
The province consumed about 9 740 gigawatt-hours of electrical energy in 2009.
About 63% of the power consumed was provided by Eskom with Free State municipalities distributing the balance of about 37%.
Eskom supplies mostly the mining, industrial and commercial customers, whilst municipalities supply predominantly domestic customers.
Magashule said Lesotho had been identified as a potential alternative power market for the Free State.