10 reasons to vote DA to keep your lights on and affordable

Voting DA is your best guarantee of an uninterrupted supply of electricity at the lowest cost possible. DA-run municipalities are taking 10 steps to ensure a reliable, cheapest-possible supply of electricity to residents and businesses.

1.Purchasing electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs) to protect residents and businesses from Eskom load shedding.

Through its Energy Resilience Project, the DA is putting in place measures to enable six DA-run municipalities to purchase electricity directly from IPPs. This will protect them from load shedding and ultimately end their reliance on Eskom altogether. These municipalities are Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Overstrand, Saldanha Bay and Swartland. Once the model has been perfected with these six “pilots”, we will roll it out to all DA-run governments.

The DA fought hard for five years for this right to purchase power directly from IPPs. Independent producers are incentivised through competition to keep their prices as low as possible, their supply as reliable as possible, and their power as clean as possible. Eskom’s monopoly, on the other hand, has fostered the complacency and failure that has put the utility into its current death spiral.

2.Paying Eskom on time for bulk supply, so that Eskom never cuts supply due to non-payment by the municipality

Municipalities purchase electricity in bulk from Eskom and then sell it on to local residents and businesses. Many ANC-run municipalities keep selling electricity to residents and businesses, but stop paying for it. Eskom eventually responds by cutting off bulk supply to the municipality, plunging even paying households and businesses into darkness, and denying poor households their constitutional right to free basic electricity.

This never happens in DA-run municipalities because DA councils always pay Eskom on time. There has literally never been a single incidence where power has been cut to a DA municipality because of failure to pay Eskom. Where we inherit large debt, such as in Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality in Limpopo and Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, we take immediate  steps to remedy this.

The situation of non-paying ANC municipalities has become so bad that the matter was challenged in court, with a Concourt ruling this week finally setting a legal precedent that no paying end users may be denied access to electricity due to non-payment by municipalities.

3.Storing low-cost, off-peak energy to avoid load shedding and reduce costs

DA-run Cape Town manages to avoid at least one stage of load shedding compared to the rest of the country through its well-maintained pumped-storage hydropower station at the Steenbras Dam. This city-owned power station can generate electricity during peak periods to make up for supply shortfall from Eskom. During periods of peak demand, water from the upper dam is channeled through turbine generators to the lower dam, to generate electricity. The water is then pumped back up to the upper dam at night using low-cost surplus national generating capacity. This innovation reduces the economic impact of load shedding and saves on the cost of buying electricity at peak rates.

DA-led Drakenstein’s Leliefontein pump-as-turbine station, the first of its kind in SA, uses low-cost, off-the-shelf equipment to generate clean power, using potential energy in their existing infrastructure. The same equipment is used to pump water and to generate electricity by reversing the flow through the pumps.

4.Maximising municipal energy efficiency to minimise costs to residents and businesses

DA municipalities are the most energy efficient, with the highest proportion of municipal facilities, streetlights, and traffic lights using LED bulbs and low-energy appliances. DA-run George Municipality has installed a 300kW solar plant on top of covered parking bays that powers the main municipal building. DA-run Hessequa has the country’s first solar-powered desalination plant.

Cape Town is the most energy efficient city in SA, with over 231 GWH of electricity saved in 10 years, enough to power 35 clinics for 10 years and avoiding 230 000 tons of carbon emissions. The City has retro-fitted energy-efficient lamps in all traffic lights and 34% of streetlights to date. City buildings have over 563 kWp of rooftop solar PV systems installed.

5.Assisting residents and businesses to go off grid and sell their excess power to the grid

Cape Town is incentivising solar PV users to feed power back into the grid, with on of SA’s highest feed-in tariffs.

6.Investing in infrastructure

DA-run governments lead in investing in the bulk electrical infrastructure needed to ensure uninterrupted supply.

7.Supplying poor households with free basic electricity

In Cape Town, 27% of City-supplied households get 60kWh of free basic electricity monthly. This is almost double the Gauteng average of 15.4% and the national average of 16.7%.

8.Addressing cable theft

DA-run Cape Town refuses to simply accept the failure of SAPS, and so has a dedicated Metal Theft Unit to protect infrastructure including electrical lines. It also supports the removal of illegal electrical connections. On Sunday night, the DA’s mayoral candidate for Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, went on patrol with the unit and witnessed it catching three suspects red-handed stealing electrical cable.

9.Connecting more households to the grid

The DA leads in connecting households to the grid. For example, since the DA won the Eastern Cape municipality of Kouga in 2016, 1 791 households there have received access to electricity for the first time. DA-run Cape Town supplies the highest level of access to electricity in SA. 98% of City-supplied informal settlements have access to electricity where it is possible to connect.

10.Rapid resolution of electricity faults for residents and businesses

DA governments lead in the rapid resolution of electricity faults. DA-run Cape Town fixes 80% of electricity faults in under 3.5 hours and 99.9% within national Quality of Service timeframes. DA-run Swartland Municipality attends to 84% of electricity faults within 1.5 hours, almost 3 times more than the NERSA requirement of 30%.

Conclusion

The DA gets things done to ensure reliable, affordable electricity. Take your power back by voting DA on 1 November.