Cabinet sets up power 'war room'

By admin
11 December 2014

Cabinet has devised a five-point plan to deal with the electricity crisis and set up a "war room" to implement it, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced on Thursday.

All attempts were being made to ensure the tight energy situation was overcome, he told journalists in Pretoria following Cabinet's regular Wednesday fortnightly meeting.

"A technical team war room for the implementation of the five-point plan is constituted with immediate effect."

Radebe said power utility Eskom would be signing a memorandum of understanding with the Strategic Fuel Fund and the Transnet Port Authority on Thursday to assure the diesel supplies needed for its generators.

Eskom has in past weeks highlighted a diesel shortage among the reasons for weekend power cuts across the country.

He also announced steps to solve the electricity supplier's cash problems.

"Eskom will present a detailed finance plan to manage its cash flow beyond 2015. This plan will be presented to the IMC [inter-ministerial committee] by December 2014. Simultaneously, government will finance the funding model," he said.

Government was also looking at co-generation options.

"[These are] with the sugar, paper and pulp industries to harness waste energy to the extent of 1000 megawatts."

He said there were also "significant opportunities" for importing gas.

Independent power producers would also be pulled in.

"A coal independent power producer programme will be launched by the end of January [next year], with generation capacity of 2500 megawatts."

Radebe said some relief from power cuts was in sight from December 15, when many manufacturing and industrial concerns closed for the festive season, reducing demand on the grid.

Among other initiatives contained in the plan was the extension of existing co-generation contracts with the private sector, as well as accelerating the programme for "substitution of diesel with gas to fire up the diesel power plants".

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