Minister Essop to re-activate Energy Risk Management Plan | Western Cape Government


Minister Essop to re-activate Energy Risk Management Plan

22 January 2008
Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, Tasneem Essop, will be convening an urgent meeting with Eskom, the City, the private sector, organised labour and civil society on Thursday (24th January) to re-activate the Energy Risk Management Committee (ERMC) which was set up two years ago by the Premier, under her chairpersonship, to deal with outages being experienced in the province at that time.

Essop said that her office had been inundated with requests for information and that the citizens of the Western Cape were demanding a predictable and equitable approach to managing the current electricity outages.

'The ERMC is a truly Western Cape model which worked; we managed to save about 400 Mw per day which cut down the need to loadshed. I believe the time has come for this Committee and the plans to be reactivated. The current approach to load shedding by the City is perceived to be inequitable and largely targeting disadvantaged communities. We need to revert to the principles established two years ago to ensure fairness through integrated load shedding schedules between the City and Eskom.'

'This provincial government was challenged very early on in office by extreme events such as water shortages, floods and power outages and we have learnt valuable lessons in managing them. That is exactly why we brought stakeholders to the table during the last round of outages and said to them 'tell us what you need to manage the situation?' and 'what do you expect from us?'. Following these initial engagements it became very clear that what the public expected was reliable information which they could access easily. So we created the ERMC with a stakeholder committee which became a platform for a broad range of stakeholders to engage with Eskom and the City', Essop said.

The Energy Risk Management Committee created a joint operational centre (JOC) which was staffed by members of business, labour and civil society, who met weekly with Eskom and the City management to monitor and plan the load shedding. An intensive communication plan was developed to ensure that load shedding schedules were widely publicised and this assisted with predictability and planning. Essop said the 'work done by the JOC members was critical as it allowed people to plan properly and adjust their work and personal lives around the outages.'

A second task of the Energy Risk Management Committee was to help Eskom devise a national demand side management strategy which focused on reducing consumer demand and the wasteful use of electricity during the periods when electricity supply was being affected by repairs at Koeberg. The roll-out of 5 million CFL bulbs in the province was one example of this strategy.

'As critical stakeholders we used our collective experience and called upon a very angry public to work with us and to help us find a solution to the challenge. We succeeded then and I believe we can succeed once again!' said Essop.

Issued by:
Minister Tasneem Essop
Environment, Planning and Economic Development

For further information contact:
Nils Flaatten
Ministerial Spokesperson
Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
083 708 7119

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