Cabinet approves bill to open power market

By Paul Burkhardt

South Africa’s cabinet approved a bill on electricity regulation designed to clear the path for private generation projects and power trading.

State-owned Eskom Holding SOC Ltd. has provided more than 90% of electricity used by the most industrialized nation on the continent for a century. The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill outlines an entity to buy power as a step toward establishing a competitive market.

The Draft Electricity Amendment Bill has been approved for submission to parliament and will be prioritized, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters in Pretoria, the capital, on Thursday.

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Eskom has become an unprofitable utility, despite its monopoly, and is moving ahead with a plan to separate the business into generation, transmission and distribution units.

The bill will strengthen the role of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and allow measures to create a transmission system operator that includes the “provision of an electricity trading platform on a multi-market basis, and provide access to the transmission network on a non-discriminatory basis,” Ntshavheni said in a statement. 

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