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Licences for generators and solar panels: public to comment

THE National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has drafted new regulations which require citizens to register and pay licence fees for their generator or solar panels, whether connected to the grid or not.

In a statement issued by Energy Expert Coalition, they urge all South Africans, from peaceful pensioners to street vendor barbers and large business owners, to oppose the new Nersa regulations for small-scale embedded generators (SSEG Rules). Provision for public comments closes on 31 May 2018.

Debra, one of the South Africans opposing the new regulations said, “We have to find ways to make cost of living less and survival easier with rising prices. This is unacceptable to burden people with registration fees that have no right to be levied by government institutions for not even creating the alternative to people.”

Under the new rules, which have been in the pipeline for months, is the requirement for all owners/buyers of small-scale “electricity generators” less than 1 MW to make an application for the establishment of the installation to their local distributor (municipality or Eskom) and then to register with Nersa.

“I view the rules as draconian,” says energy expert Ted Blom, a partner at Mining & Energy Advisors.

“These rules apply to all small installations, whether for private or public use and whether they are to be connected to the grid or not”.

Blom highlights that the definitions and rules are far too wide as they essentially extend right down to micro-solar chargers for cell phones. The definitions are also not clear as they demand registration of all devices, yet only describe the procedure to be followed for grid linked devices. The ambit of these regulations is similar to the unworkable and failed Gauteng e-Toll regulations yet far wider in that they apply to almost all 55 million South Africans in all nine provinces.

“These rules are poorly drafted and unworkable and will result in wide-scale civil disobedience if promulgated,” warns Blom.

Such regulations will result in a permitting system, and eventually, licence fees will be instituted to fund policing of installations. This added cost will give rise to yet another financial burden for ordinary SA citizens, which Blom makes clear “is a regrettable situation which we will challenge”.

Nersa has invited the public to comment and provide input on the draft rules.

Please have your say by visiting the link: http://eeco.co.za/projects/generator/

The Energy Expert Coalition said it is important to note this is not simply a petition but the first step in an essential participative democracy process. As each comment is immediately sent as a separate email to the designated representative, comments must, by law, be individually acknowledged and considered by Nersa. Had this been a petition, they would treat it as a single comment.

(ISSUED: ENERGY EXPERT COALITION)

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