8 April 2013 – During May and August of 2012, South Africa’s department of energy (DoE) reviewed South Africa’s Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) to define a new roadmap for achieving universal electrification by 2025. The previous target had been 2014 but with an estimated backlog of 3.4 million households as at 2012, a different approach was deemed necessary.

One of the key components of this new strategy is a National Electrification Master Plan based on a least cost approach which will determine which areas will be electrified using grid versus non-grid technologies;    the roll-out sequence for electrification, based on municipal and other government priorities; and which entities will deliver the respective connections, based on historical performance.

The Master Plan is scheduled to be completed by 1 June 2013. The Association of Municipal Electricity Utilities (AMEU) of Southern Africa says however, that the response from municipalities to the DoE request for information has been poor with only 15% of submissions having been received by 7th of March 2013.

The data requirements from licensed municipalities are as follows:    Current networks status and future network plans; electrification plans; housing plans; electrification backlog per ward; spatial development plans; master plans for those municipalities that have those.

Dr Wolsey Barnard, deputy director-general of the DoE has urged AMEU members to support the master planning process as all future INEP allocations will be made on the basis of the Master Plan.