Report on Eskom Power Outages: adoption

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Mineral Resources and Energy

31 March 2006
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

31 March 2006

Chairpersons: Mr Y Carrim (ANC) and Mr E Ngcobo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Joint Meeting Report on Eskom Power Outages

The Minerals and Energy, Public Enterprises and Science and Technology Portfolio Committees met to adopt a report of a joint meeting held on 14 March 2006, which discussed Eskom power outages in the Western Cape. The report was adopted by all three Committees.

Mr Carrim declared that the report had been considered by the three chairs and sent out to Members on Tuesday. The main section of the report was section three. Annexure A was included in the report as received from the researchers without any alterations. The Committee sought to highlight points contained in Annexure A that were regarded as important such as the need to avoid excessive technical references and consider private sector involvement in energy provision. The three Chairs would hold a meeting with Eskom in the next week. The majority of the Committees were of the opinion that no national crisis in electricity distribution existed.

Mr J Stephens (DA) stated that the Democratic Alliance’s position still had to be determined regarding the extent of a crisis.

Mr Carrim stated that the report made specific reference to the recent crisis in the Western Cape. More effective responses from Eskom were required to explain reasons for the outages. The majority of the Committees felt that Eskom’s plans to address the Western Cape challenges were sound.

Mr Stephens questioned the use of the word "sound" and asked whether sufficient technical expertise existed within the Committees to evaluate the appropriateness of the plans.

Mr Carrim suggested that "reasonably sound " be introduced as a compromise.

Ms E Ngaleka (ANC) noted that the electricity distribution since March 1 had been virtually uninterrupted that indicated a significant improvement.

Mr Carrim acknowledged that some loss of confidence had been experienced but one should find a balance between two extremes. The Department of Minerals and Energy would produce a pamphlet by the middle of April that explained the reasons for the outages. Committees had to ensure more vigorous oversight of relevant departments and parastatals. Members should interrogate such entities more effectively during briefings. An energy specialist should be assigned to Committees. A joint programme of action would be provided to Members after the constituency period.

All three Committees adopted the report.

The meeting was adjourned.


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