The proposed SSEG rules were published for public comment by the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) on its website on 26 April.
This morning (21 May), NERSA’s executive manager for electricity regulation, Mbulelo Ncetezo, told SABC2 that the draft rules have been withdrawn until the Department of Energy gazettes a revised notice on this.
“OUTA believes there is a lack of clarity by those in authority as to the need and purpose for the registration of small-scale energy generation and, more worrying, is NERSA’s readiness to administer the registration process,” says Ronald Chauke, OUTA’s Energy Portfolio Manager.
Earlier this month, OUTA formally objected to NERSA’s proposed rules.
OUTA calls on the Department of Energy (DoE) to level the playing field and create an enabling environment by clarifying to what extent the public and commercially interested entities would be empowered to introduce self-sufficiency initiatives to meet their daily electricity requirements. Small-scale users should be entitled to embark on safe and secure electricity generation to meet the power requirements of their homes and small-scale commercial activities without undue interference by Eskom or other parties with vested interests.
Our experience shows that when Government interferes or seeks to over-regulate in areas that it should not control, or is unable to control, its authority will suffer a crisis of legitimacy. Tapping into free natural energy sources (sun and wind) must not be controlled or subjected to an onerous registration process, especially if these systems are ring-fenced and not linked to the grid.
It is clear to OUTA that the wave and new direction of energy self-sufficiency poses a significant threat to Eskom’s future (due to an envisaged dip in sales volumes) and that Government’s unnecessary interference is likely to attract a legal challenge to the constitutionality of such actions.
OUTA calls on the DoE to draft its amended regulations in such a manner that reduces Government’s interference and encourages the promotion of the rights and processes of self-sufficiency in small-scale energy generation. In addition, the DoE should not interfere with the safety and specifications of the requirements or standards of embedded energy generation, as this is best overseen by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and other regulatory bodies who often take their guide from other countries where the specifications for solar panels, generators, wind turbines and other systems have already been set.