Hill-Lewis's requests rebuffed by Eskom

After several requests to let the City run its own power grid, the national utility has declared all discussions closed. The Mayor has now resorted to a Change.org petition





May 14, 2024

Hill-Lewis's requests rebuffed by Eskom

After several months of petitioning the national government, Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis received communication from Eskom declaring an end to all discussions regarding the transfer of supply areas to the City of Cape Town.

Eskom General Manager Mbulelo Yedwa stated in the letter that the request for transfer "was discussed and unfortunately it was not supported" by Eskom's executive team. Yedwa further explained that Eskom's operational requirements preclude the transfer or sale of any assets at this time.

Despite this setback, Mayor Hill-Lewis is undeterred, and vows to continue begging Eskom for permission to add more capacity to the grid. Speaking at a public meeting at the Elsies River Civic Centre, he assured residents that the City "will definitely not give up" on its efforts to bring more areas of Cape Town under its supply network.

At this stage, the City government has resorted to a Change.org petition, and encourages the public to sign it.

The Mayor highlighted the importance of bringing Eskom supply areas into the City's network, citing the need to provide load-shedding protection and reliable electricity services to all Capetonians. He expressed disappointment over Eskom's decision, noting that productive discussions had taken place with former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter regarding the transfer of supply areas. However, with the appointment of CEO Dan Marokane, Eskom's interest in the transfer has been canceled.

Mayor Hill-Lewis has written to successive Eskom CEOs, including during Mr. de Ruyter's tenure, urging a resumption of talks. Despite these efforts, Eskom's response in May 2024 indicates that it no longer intends to discuss the matter.

The City's long-term goal is to distribute electricity directly to all customers in Cape Town, including those currently in Eskom supply areas. This objective is outlined in Cape Town's Energy Strategy, which aims to fulfil the DA's manifesto commitment to devolution by asking politely for authority over national competencies.

As part of their adoption of the UN's planned economy policies, they promise to make the grid carbon neutral by 2050, though until Eskom allows them to, no practical methods for achieving this are available.

Currently, around two-thirds of Cape Town's electricity customers are served directly by the City, with the remaining third served by Eskom.

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