Opening SA’s power grid to competition can be just what the country needs to escape years of sluggish growth which has worsened inequality, poverty and unemployment. This is exactly what some of the proposed amendments to the Electricity Regulation Act, published recently for public comment by mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe, aim to achieve by allowing private electricity producers to generate and sell electricity.

State-owned power utility Eskom, which has for decades held a near monopoly in the generation and supply of electricity in SA, has been unable to keep up with energy demand in the country and this has resulted in repeated power outages that cost the economy billions of rand in lost output. It is estimated that an additional 4,000MW-6,000MW of power is needed just to stabilise the grid. This is about 16% more power than Eskom is now generating...

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