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The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has welcomed the decision by NERSA to withdraw the proposed rules to govern the registration of Small-Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) below 1 megawatt.

The proposed SSEG rules were published for public comment by the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) on its website on 26 April.

On Monday (21 May), NERSA’s executive manager for electricity regulation, Mbulelo Ncetezo, told a news channel, SABC2, that the draft rules have been withdrawn until the Department of Energy gazettes a revised notice on this.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.

Objecting NERSA’s proposed rules

Earlier this month, the organisation formally objected to NERSA’s proposed rules. Read more: NERSA clarifies draft rules consultation paper for SSEG

OUTA has called 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.

The non-profit organisation is of the view that 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,” said OUTA in a statement.

“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 added.

Amended regulations

OUTA is calling 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 organisation requests that DoE should not interfere with the safety and specifications of the requirements or standards of embedded energy generation, as this is already being overseen by the South African Bureau of Standards and other regulatory bodies.