People try to start a generator outside a supermarket during a blackout in Maracaibo

JOHANNESBURG  - Agricultural industry association Agri SA said on Monday it was concerned about what it called the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (NERSA) reluctance to register small-scale embedded generator (SSEG) projects. 

In a statement, Agri SA said its members had the potential to supply the electricity needed to prevent future rolling blackouts, known as load shedding,  through small-scale solar photovoltaic installations.

"It is unacceptable that farmers who want to do their part to relieve strain on the grid are not allowed to do so,” the chairman of Agri SA's Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence Nicol Jansen said.

According to a licensing exemption and registration notice gazetted in November 2017, SSEGs are exempt from licensing but are required to be registered with NERSA. 

"However, by failing to register SSEGs, NERSA is preventing completed SSEG projects to be connected to the grid," Agri SA said.

It said non-registration had been the status quo, despite NERSA approving a registration process at an energy regulator meeting last October and approving a registration fee of R200 in March.

The registration process and internal procedure for the registration of SSEGs had been published on NERSA’s website on March 19, with NERSA on March 26 issuing e-mails confirming the reference number and account into which the registration fee should be paid, Agri SA said.

An electricity subcommittee had approved 17 projects for registration on April 10, and NERSA should have issued the registration letters as per the process, the association said.

But for some reason the facilities had not been registered by NERSA, even though registration fees were paid.

"For this reason, Agri SA is compelled to explore further options to exert pressure on NERSA to perform its mandate and register SSEG projects that meet the registration requirements," it said. "This will include the possibility of pursuing legal remedies."

- African News Agency (ANA)