• South Africa’s Energy Regulator NERSA has launched an official investigation into the conduct of the country’s national utility Eskom
  • South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) had formally complained with NERSA about Eskom’s decision not to sign PPAs with independent power producers
  • South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) says this investigation follows a previous probe that gave enough ground to NERSA to carry out the investigation
  • SAWEA has also demanded that in case Eskom is found guilty, it may be forced to pay 10% of its annual turnover per day from the day of receipt of the notice of contravention as a penalty
  • SAREC and a number of individual IPPs have now joined the complaint as interested and affected parties

As state-owned public utility Eskom of South Africa’s continues to refuse signing any PPAs with independent power producers (IPP) the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has now taken action against the countries national utilty.

Responding to a complaint by South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), an electricity sub-committee of NERSA has initiated a ‘formal investigation into Eskom’s conduct’. As per South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), this follows a preliminary investigation that gave enough reason to the agency to investigate the matter further.

“We have had confirmation from NERSA that an expedited investigation into whether Eskom is in contravention of its licence, has now commenced,” explained Brenda Martin, SAWEA CEO. Adding, “We await the timeline associated with this process, which could culminate with a ruling by a NERSA tribunal. Based on previous communications with NERSA it is likely that the process will be concluded within two weeks.”

It has been two years since developers have been waiting for Eskom to change its stance over the matter. As many as 37 agreements were reportedly waiting for financial closure as of April 2017. It was reported previously by local media that the utility doesn’t wish to sign any more PPAs from IPPs as it cannot negotiate the prices at which it can buy power from them as this may affect its future revenue streams (see Eskom Plans Not To Sign Further IPP PPAs).

Last month, the country’s Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi had apparently pushed the deadline on which PPAs were supposed to be signed with IPPs.

In case the utility is found guilty of charges, SAWEA has requested for NERSA to impose a penalty of 10% of its annual turnover per day commencing on the day of receipt of the notice of contravention.

SAREC also informed that it has now joined the complaint along with a number of individual IPPs.

Eskom has basically a monopoly in South Africa, supplying as much as 95% of the total power of the country.