The electricity crisis is getting worse. Loadshedding is happening more frequently and for longer periods. The situation has become intolerable. A stagnant economy is teetering and another recession beckons. Many workers will lose their jobs as businesses close. Of course, energy poverty will worsen as more people cut themselves off as they are forced to choose food over electricity.
The root causes of this crisis are complex, but they include a lack of investment in new power generation capacity, ageing infrastructure, and a failure to diversify our energy mix. The situation has been exacerbated by a combination of factors such as increased demand and maintenance issues at many power stations.
The corporatisation of Eskom, as part of government’s neoliberal policies, based on full-cost recovery model, has created a financial crisis at Eskom. This has made it almost impossible for Eskom to undertake the urgent maintenance of its ageing fleet of power stations. Nor has it been able to invest in a new build programme, shift to cleaner forms of generation, upgrade the grid and invest in battery storage.
Government plans for unbundling Eskom and creating a competitive electricity market, as demanded by the IMF and World Bank, will make things worse. International experience has demonstrated this and is leading to more countries reversing the privatisation of their electricity systems.
There are feasible alternatives to liberalisation and privatisation. Sean Sweeney of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy will elaborate on the international experience, especially focusing on the role and impact of the international finance institutions’ privatisation programmes and trade union resistance and alternatives. Dominic Brown of the AIDC will focus on the South African situation and put forward concrete proposals for overcoming the crisis on a sustainable basis.
The AIDC forum will give us an opportunity to explore the available alternatives. Together, we can work towards a sustainable and reliable energy future for our country.
Date: 02 February 2023
Speakers: Dominic Brown, Director at the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)
Sean Sweeney, Coordinator at Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED)
Venue: AIDC Solidarity Centre
129 Rochester Road
Observatory, Cape Town
To join online register: HERE
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