The fact is that the load shedding announced by Eskom today will damage the economy in the Western Cape.
The impact of load shedding is currently estimated to be R75 million per stage, per day for the Western Cape.
As the Western Cape Government, we have taken a number of actions to mitigate the impact of load shedding on the provincial economy, and build energy resilience, however, the cost of load shedding remains high, particularly for manufacturing in the Western Cape.
We also can’t ignore the impact of load shedding on households, small businesses and agriculture for example, which are forced to invest in alternative powers sources to build their resilience against energy failures.
Furthermore, there is a large ‘uncounted cost’ of load shedding owing to the impact on market confidence.
The Western Cape Government has been building an energy secure province by diversifying our energy mix through the uptake of sustainable and low-carbon energy sources.
This includes the following measures:
- Installing electricity meters which allow for better consumption management in provincial buildings (this has helped reduce our electricity consumption by 13%, which is 38% below the industry benchmark)
- Encouraging energy efficiency through targeted campaigns
- Supporting the uptake of Solar photovoltaic (PV)
With the recurrence of load shedding in late 2018, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism have also been working with our partners (Eskom, City of Cape Town, Wesgro and GreenCape) and engaging with businesses around the risk of load shedding and the mitigation measures that they can implement.
The Western Cape has led the way with regards to the implementation of Solar PV. Of the 25 municipalities in the province, 23 allow rooftop Solar PV to connect to the electricity grid and have nationally approved tariffs in place, which allow users to be compensated for feeding their surplus power back into the municipal electricity grid.
Furthermore, we look forward to a positive outcome on the ongoing court action between the City of Cape Town against the Department of Energy to allow the City to buy power directly from Independent Power Providers.
I am committed to continued engagements with businesses to ensure energy resilience in the province so that we remain “open for business”, and together grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.