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Tshwane's Idle Power Stations Drain City's Budget as Efforts to Become Energy Independent Commence

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Tshwane’s Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations have been costing the city approximately R300 million each year, funding salaries and maintenance while remaining non-operational for more than a decade despite employing around 200 people. This significant expenditure was revealed following comments made by Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink during a media briefing on Monday, addressing the city's plans to produce independent power.

Growing energy concerns and the overreliance on state-run power producer Eskom have brought forth this initiative, aimed at generating at least 1,000 megawatts independently. The goal is to alleviate the burden of rolling blackouts which, as Mayor Brink highlighted, negatively affect city’s socio-economic framework. He said, "Every day rolling blackouts make us poorer, degrade our infrastructure, and chip away at our funding model for local government."

As part of this energy autonomy plan, Brink floated the idea of a 40-year lease on the Rooiwal and Pretoria West power stations. The Tshwane Council approved a public participation report for the proposed leases last week, marking the first step in this ambitious plan.

City of Tshwane chief economist Lardo Stander estimated that over the past decade, these idle power stations have cost Tshwane more than R1 billion in direct costs, with potential revenue losses running into the billions. As the stations continue to remain unproductive, this figure serves as a stark call to action for the city to venture into independent power generation and put to use the idle resources.

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