South Africa: Independent Power Company Celebrates 100MW Limit


Despite the private electricity market being dogged by regulation, uncertainty and a reluctance on the part of the government to welcome private participation, one company has jumped in boots and all.

Demetri Pappadopoulos, the founder of Earth & Wire power company, simply nods his head at the news that the threshold for companies to produce their own electricity without a licence will be raised from 1MW to 100MW.

"We knew that at some stage the dam wall would break. To allow self-generation of 1MW or even the Minister's proposed 10MW, was an arbitrary ceiling and eventually, the pressure from business was going to become overwhelming," he says. "Government cannot have businesses disinvesting because they cannot access the power they need."

Recently dairy company Clover announced it was closing its cheese factory in Lichtenburg, the largest in the country, due to "ongoing poor service delivery" by the local municipality.

The challenges faced by Eskom need little elaboration and include a high debt burden and ageing power plants. As a result, the utility is unable to keep the lights on, making the delivery of alternative energy solutions a priority.

Earth & Wire has recently stepped into this...

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