DME to unveil energy master plan in June, to pass electricity efficiency laws

30th May 2007 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online

The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) will present a new energy master plan, covering a detailed energy infrastructure plan until 2011, next month, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said on Wednesday.

Delivering her department’s R2,96-billion budget vote speech in Parliament, she said that the DME would also develop an integrated energy-modeling system to inform long-term integrated energy planning by 2009.

Sonjica said that 63% of her budget was allocated to the department's electrification programme, which included State power utility Eskom and municipalities. 

The policy interventions came as a response to burning energy challenges, such as rolling electricity blackouts and fuel shortages, she said.

Sonjica, who noted that she was concerned about the repeated blackouts and power shortages, said that the challenge was as a result of infrastructure constraints and the inadequacy of some of the demand and supply plans that had been put in place years ago.

energy-saving legislation

Legislation would also be passed to ensure that customers reduce their electricity usage, she said.

The new laws, which would be passed by the end of October, would mandate provision of energy data and the use of “healthy, safe, energy efficient and energy-friendly appliances”.

“A key aspect of this piece of legislation will be the creation of entities that will promote energy efficiency, renewable energies, energy planning and environmental protection. These plans will have minimal impact unless all consumers take a conscious decision to use energy efficiently.”

Energy efficiency formed a key part of Sonjica’s plans to ensure security of energy supply and she told Parliament that an “intensive” energy efficiency campaign aimed promoting energy efficiency among ordinary households and industrial consumers would be launched on Friday.

This programme was developed along with the Department of Public Enterprises, State-owned electricity supplier, Eskom, and other State organs.