The Department of Energy (DoE) will soon publish a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) strategy in a bid to encourage greater use of LPG in place of electricity, which could also help delay the need for new electricity generation capacity.
The foundations for the scale-up plan have been laid through a price regulation regime implemented in 2010, which Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said on Thursday had saved consumers R200-million since being introduced.
Addressing lawmakers during her Budget vote address, Peters said the LPG strategy could aid in delaying the construction of at least one additional power station if it was successful in replacing electricity for heating and cooking applications.
The DoE wanted the LPG strategy to target all sectors of society, but saw particular applicability for those currently without access to electricity.
Currently 5% of South Africans use LPG and the intention is to target at least one-million additional users over the next five years.
Challenges that need to be addressed include the cost of appliances, access to retailers, cylinder costs and bulk product availability.
The department intends to address the cost of switching to gas appliances by implementing incentives, though they do believe market forces will also encourage consumers to switch to LPG even in the absence of incentives.
Through cooperation with other departments, notably the Department of Trade and Industry, Peters intends to oversee a facilitation in the reduction of the price of cylinders.
Bulk distribution will be addressed by importing more LPG through the Richards Bay and Saldahna Bay terminals. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa had already granted one license for the importation of LPG through Saldanha Bay.