Umhlathuze Local Municipality
Cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister, David van Rooyen. Pic credit: COGTA

Speaking at the 66th Convention of the Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU) this week, the cooperative governance and traditional affairs (COGTA) minister, David van Rooyen, urged municipalities and their towns to make use of alternative energy sources.

Van Rooyen told delegates about the importance of living in the future and not neglecting the possibility of relevance as a brand, as keeping up with trends in order to stay relevant is key.

“A large capital investment in power utilities by municipalities needs to be looked after through proper maintenance and care taken of these installations,” said the minister.

He expressed concern that the model of energy generation, transmission and distribution is under pressure, adding that: “Government acknowledges that municipalities are hampered by vacant positions for qualified technicians and engineers, hence the Capacity Development Programme, under MISA [Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent], addresses this through training of artisans, technicians and engineers.”

Van Rooyen warns of solar impact

Although a lot of research has been done in the provision of alternative energy sources such as solar PV leading to the development of reliable technology, the Minister cautioned delegates on the dynamics of power distribution in South Africa, which is in a fast changing phase with major changes to the way distribution was done in the past.

Van Rooyen emphasised that this will have to be implemented to keep up with the demand for technology driven systems and procedures.

The Minister also spoke of the impact that the solar PV rooftop installations will have in the near future when it comes to municipal revenue flow. Read more…

He said some form of regulation would have to be introduced to protect the national and municipal capital investments in power generation, transmission and distribution.

Tariff models

The Minister also touched on the pressure that is on municipalities to develop a business model for generating, transmitting and distributing energy.

“We hope that working with institutions like the South African Local Government Association (Salga) would be beneficial as they would advise on how to move the process forward. Pricing models are already changing and Eskom is focusing on rationalising the tariff models currently in use,” van Rooyen said.

In conclusion, the Minister indicated that it would be important for municipalities to be proactive and adjust the pricing models for distribution of energy to their consumers within their licensed area.

 

Featured image: Stock