Independent power system operator to be set up

Cape Town - The government is set to establish an independent power system operator, separate from Eskom, to ensure that the country maintains a reliable electricity supply in, said President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address in Parliament today.

Zuma said the government had established an inter-ministerial committee on energy to develop a 20 year integrated resource plan. Cabinet approved the committee in December.

"Among other things, this will look at the participation of independent power producers, and protecting the poor from rising electricity prices," said Zuma.

Zuma said Eskom would continue to build additional generation capacity and improve the maintenance of its power stations.

Last year, Eskom revised its tariff application to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) of 35 percent over the next three years. This was from its original 45 percent tariff increase request.