At the end of 2017 there were strong indications from the minister of energy about the finalisation of a very important planning document. Around the country an audience took its seat, a drum roll started and the MC said the actors were on stage. But the curtain never lifted and the audience is still waiting and wondering what is going on behind the scenes. The document is the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which determines what electricity infrastructure will be built and when and whether or not SA will move towards a sustainable, equitable and affordable energy future. It not only affects the government’s environment and climate change commitments but it will directly affect citizens’ wallets. For the middle class, unnecessarily high electricity prices will be an annoyance, but for millions of low-income households it will determine how many days a month they can pay for lighting. Very soon after David Mahlobo took office as the third minister of energy in 2017, there was talk of...

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