Western Cape premier Helen Zille has hit out at the Department of Energy for apparently trying to defend Eskom’s monopoly. During her state of the province address on Friday, Zille expressed her unhappiness at the department for dragging its feet in allowing the city of Cape Town to purchase electricity directly from independent power producers. In terms of current legislation, municipalities wishing to procure energy directly from independent power producers have to get permission from the energy minister. "We have … engaged National Treasury and the Department of Energy numerous times on the business case for direct power procurement," Zille said. "We believe that allowing municipalities to enter into contracts with independent power producers is a four-fold win: cheaper electricity prices, lower carbon emissions, more investment and more industrialisation. This ultimately means more local jobs. The city of Cape Town is pushing hard for the right to do this." Zille added: "Unfortu...

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