The Portfolio Committee on Energy Committee takes task team to task

SA Government Information 7 August 2012.

The Portfolio Committee on Energy has expressed concerns at the inability of the team led by the Department of Energy to brief the Committee on the scenario building exercise and further due diligence on the future of the transmission sector regarding the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill.

“In view of the lack of tangible feedback after two and half months of expected work, the Committee expected more substantive work from the team,” said Mr Sisa Njikelana, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Energy. The Committee was hardly convinced by the explanation given by the team about the lack of feedback. The team also failed to meet the stipulated deadline.

During the discussion members of the Committee highlighted the urgency of processing the ISMO Bill. Mr Njikelana said there was pressure to finalise the Bill because the deadline for the generation of power by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) had been set for next year. “It is important that this Bill is completed in record time,” he added

The Bill will provide for the establishment of an Independent System and Market Operator as a state-owned entity which will provide an independent system operation to ensure safe, secure and efficient operation of the integrated power system, trading of electricity at wholesale level. The Committee assigned the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to confirm its preparedness in a bid to ensure appropriate access to the transmission grid by IPPs.

Members of the Committee made reference to provisions of the energy white paper which directed the establishment of a separate transmission entity. The Committee also expressed its understanding and empathy on a balanced approach between processing the Bill in time whilst at the same time allowing emerging challenges to be addressed along the way.

The Committee resolved to conclude the Bill by the end of this year. The task team asked for a four-month extension to complete the scenario building exercise and the due diligence. But the Committee told the task team that the first report back of the scenario building would be in a month’s time, and that due diligence report back would be in two months’ time. The task team will be required to provide fortnightly updates to the Chairperson.

The Committee also resolved to invite written submissions from external experts on the same issues handled by the task team within the next month.

For media enquiries and interviews with the Chairperson, please contact:
Yoliswa Landu
Cell:  073 738 0182
Tel:  021 403 8203

Issued by: Parliament of South Africa
7 Aug 2012