OPPOSE THE PRIVATISATION AND LIBERALISATION OF THE ENERGY PROVISION
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has made a parliamentary submission to the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, opposing sections that will radically liberalise the electricity generation market and hasten the privatisation of the electricity generation from the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill.
The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill will be tabled in parliament for debate soon. The bill establishes a framework for the creation of the transmission company and the market for energy generators. The creation of the market for electricity generators through the establishment of the Transmission System Market Operator, and a Central Purchasing Agency, are aimed at furthering the objectives to privatise energy provision in this country.
SAFTU is opposed to the liberalisation of the energy generation market, the unbundling of Eskom and the dismantling of Eskom. Eskom as a vertically integrated public electricity producing company, and the public provision of energy must be protected from the private sector. The private sector will turn the provision of energy into a site for profit making.
From 1998, government has sought to introduce the private sector in the energy generation. In the White Paper on Energy, government held that “introducing competition into the industry, especially the generation sector” was central to ensuring the “success of the electricity supply.”
In the policy framework for the restructuring of State-Owned Enterprise published in 2001, government saw it necessary to “introduce competition into the generation market by creating independent competing generating companies.”
In the roadmap for Eskom in a reformed electricity supply industry published in 2019, government again repeated its commitment to liberalising the energy generation when it said, “the generation market will become more competitive and decentralised with new public, private and other generators entering this market”.
Section 30 to 32 of the amendments to the electricity regulation act provide a pathway for the realisation of these policy objectives that have been held by government for almost three decades. SAFTU rejects these provisions and seeks to protect Eskom as a vertically integrated company.