CAPE TOWN: 09 MAY 2019
South Africa's electricity crisis - the way forward
Eskom is in deep trouble. It has been struggling to keep the lights on. Capabilities and skills have been hollowed out after a decade of state capture and rent-seeking. It is not generating enough cash to cover both operations and its cost of capital. It has a mountain of debt, yet is borrowing more, in part to service its principal and interest payments on its existing debt. And its sales are declining as alternatives become more attractive. What is to be done?
The immediate focus has to be on rebuilding management and engineering capabilities within Eskom, re-instating proper maintenance practices, compressing costs, financial restructuring and new debt-raising strategies. But Eskom will also have to change its business model if it is to survive. Restructuring will set the sector on a new path, accelerate investment and facilitate competition. The market for distributed power generation also needs to be freed-up so that a multitude of small, innovative power investments can take pressure off the grid and improve supply security. Prof Eberhard will provide a diagnosis of current challenges and outline the reforms that will be necessary for a sustainable utility and power sector of the future.
PROF ANTON EBERHARD
Anton Eberhard is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at the University of Cape Town where he directs the Power Futures Lab at the Graduate School of Business.
His research and teaching focuses on governance and regulatory incentives to improve utility performance, the political-economy of power sector reform, power investment challenges, and linkages to sustainable development. A recent focus has been the design of renewable energy auctions. He has worked in the energy sector across Sub-Saharan Africa, and other developing regions, for more than 35 years and was the founding Director of the Energy and Development Research Centre. He is a Foundation Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. He was appointed by the President of South Africa to chair a task team to resolve serious financial and technical challenges in the national utility, Eskom, and to make proposals on the restructuring of the power sector. Previously he has served on the country’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy, the National Planning Commission, the National Advisory Council on Innovation, and the Board of the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa. In 2012, he received the SA National Energy Association’s award for outstanding and sustained contributions to the enhancement of the South African energy environment. Prof Eberhard has more than 100 peer reviewed publications to his credit including three recent books: Independent Power Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa; Power Sector Reform and Regulation in Africa; and Africa’s Power Infrastructure: Investment, Integration and Efficiency. He has undertaken numerous assignments for governments, utilities, regulatory authorities, donor and multi-lateral agencies, banks and private sector companies.
Chris Yelland obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Natal in 1976, and is the founder and managing director at EE Publishers (Pty) Ltd, the publisher of EngineerIT, Energize, Vector and PositionIT magazines.
Chris was the winner of the 2002 South African Bureau of Standards Media Award for “exceptional contribution to increasing the awareness of standardisation and related issues through the media”. In 2003, he won a merit award in the Energy category of the 2003 Siemens Profile Awards, “recognising journalistic contribution to excellence in the field of science and technology”. At the 2004 ABB Excellence in Technology Reporting Awards, Chris received the ABB Technology Journalist of the Year Award for 2004. In 2009, Chris won the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) Journalism Award for “special efforts within the field of journalism to promote greater understanding of energy and its role in sustaining human endeavours”.
Chris is a fellow of the SAIEE, a senior member of the IEEE (USA), and a member of the IET (UK). He is also a registered Chartered Engineer with the Engineering Council in the UK.
CELINE DE CANHA
As the South African Energy Practice Lead, Céline advises clients on how to navigate the national energy regulatory landscape and to achieve their objectives in the space.
Céline has over 10 years of experience in counselling senior executives on communications to deliver tangible results for global and local energy clients in South Africa. She has a solid understanding of the energy landscape having worked closely with a number of clients and stakeholders in South African Governments energy programmes such as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) and the LNG-to- Power Programme. Céline has worked with global and local clients on both internal and external communication programmes, providing communication training and strategic guidance. Her strong relationship building skills enables her to connect industry players so that they can forge meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships. This is particularly valuable as the South African energy landscape becomes increasingly complex. Céline has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Witwatersrand majoring in Psychology and Anthropology and a Post Graduate Business Diploma from the University of Cape Town. She is an avid runner and in the process of joining the 7 continents marathon club- to complete a marathon on every continent. She was born in Amsterdam and has lived in the US, Canada and Singapore but calls South Africa home.
Mr Lumkile Patriarch Mondi is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Science at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests include political economy, macroeconomics, competition and regulation and public sector economics.
Mr Mondi is a strategist, economist and a leader. He is a lead independent non-executive director at Gemfields Ltd and and a director at GAIA Capital Limited. He is the deputy chairman of Aerosud Holdings and chairman of Thelo Rolling Stock Leasing. Mr Mondi has more than twenty five years of postgraduate experience in financial markets including interest rate derivatives, money market, bonds and asset and liability management. Mr Mondi is also involved in the state capture project and doing pioneering work on corruption and state capture in South Africa. He has presented and participated in various conferences world-wide, including the UN, World Bank, BNDES and OECD.
Mr Mondi is a columnist of the business daily newspaper, Business Day and a regular TV commentator on Political Economy. He was an analysts in a television feature titled The Race leading up to the governing African National Congress (ANC) 54th Elective Conference in December 2017 in partnership with MarkData and the television station ENCA. Mr Mondi has travelled extensively throughout the world bringing innovation in his work for a better world for all. Mr Mondi was employed by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa as a Chief Economist and Divisional Executive for Professional Services for the past ten years until 30June 2014. His role included positioning the IDC as a leader in development finance in Africa. In achieving this goal, Mr Mondi led a team of researchers, structured and project financers, capacity building and agencies. His responsibilities included overseing the analyses of the macro and micro economic environment (business, economic, industry and policy) globally and locally. As a consequence of this role, he has a respected thought leadership profile in South Africa and thorughout the region, where he writes, presents and comments on radio, print media and television on political economy.
Mr Mondi served in President Zuma’s State Owned Enterprises Presidential Review Committee. Previously Mr Mondi served as a member of President Mbeki’s Economic Advisory Panel. As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI) an Aspen Institute Initiative, he is engaged in influencing leaders to be value based in tackling poverty, inequality and unemployment in pursuit of a better life for all.