The City of Cape Town said it was asking the North Gauteng High Court to treat a pending court matter regarding electricity procurement as urgent. Picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - The City of Cape Town said on Tuesday it was asking the North Gauteng High Court to treat a pending court matter between itself, the energy minister and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa regarding electricity procurement as urgent.

Cape Town wants itself and other municipalities across South Africa to purchase cleaner energy directly from independent power producers (IPPs).

The city said in a statement it was doing everything possible to move away from sole reliance on state-owned power utility Eskom for its energy needs while at the same time becoming more resilient and sustainable through the use of renewable energy and transitional fuels such as natural gas.

"It is vital that we future-proof our city to ensure that security of supply, and cleaner supply at that, is enhanced," it said.

"As a responsible local government that is increasingly becoming internationally recognised for our climate change programmes, we must move toward more sustainable, greener energy resources to meet our carbon-neutral commitments."

The city said it sought a determination in accordance with new generation capacity regulations in the Electricity Generation Act to allow it to procure up to 400 MW of renewable energy from IPPs.

The price of power generated from IPPs would differ based on technology and the procurement process to be followed if the court case was successful. 

"If we are allowed to procure renewable energy, we can reduce the long-term electricity costs for our residents and provide cleaner power," it said.

"Currently, some 65 percent of the tariff that we charge customers for electricity goes toward the cost to buy electricity from Eskom."

It encouraged other metros to join it and actively participate in "constructive responses" to mitigate the impact of electricity supply shortage especially on the commercial sector.

Eskom was forced to implement rolling blackouts for several days earlier this month to avoid a collapse of the national grid after some of its generating units broke down.

"Metros must become the energy champions of their residents and of their commercial sector players," the city of Cape Town said.

"It will be vital for the national government to open up the electricity generation environment if cities are to be able to reduce carbon emissions and if security of power supply is to be achieved."

African News Agency (ANA)