The Electricity Governance Initiative-South Africa (EGI-SA) is a global project funded by the World Resource Institute in ten countries around the world. Project 90 hosts and coordinates EGI-SA, which has a wide network of member organisations and affiliates.
EGI-SA carries out – as part of its agenda – a number of capacity building activities to improve public awareness of electricity supply, pricing and investment. Such capacity-building can strengthen democracy and enable marginalised voices to be more included e in electricity planning debates.
On the 25th October Liz McDaid from The Green Connection (an EGI-SA partner) and Robert Fischer from Project 90 held a workshop in Atlantis with the title: Developing an understanding of the links between electricity choices and electricity pricing.
Atlantis, situated 40kms outside of Cape Town, has high levels of poverty and unemployment and is located close to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. Atlantis has also been an area of focus for the provincial green economy initiative that aims to uplift an economically depressed area through facilitating renewable energy industrial development. Various organisations ranging from residents’ associations, faith groups and labour unions were keen to participate in learning about energy choices and electricity pricing. 26 community members attended.
The overall objective of the workshop was to develop civil society understanding of renewable energy in order to gain community support for renewable energy and its potential benefits.
The workshop aimed:
- To provide an understanding of the different institutions that have a role in energy governance in the country and to assess how actively civil society uses the public participation opportunities available to them.
- To report and inform participants about South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan 2010 – The electricity master plan for the next 20 years –including the nuclear and coal build plans and the renewable energy options and its implications on the local economy, local environment and global climate change.
- To create an awareness of the Multi Year Price Determination (MYPD) process and to alert civil society to the importance of inputting into this process, including informing on “how to” participate in this process of setting the prices for electricity.
Given that Eskom had released its proposal for tariff increases three days before the workshop, the participants were focused on how they could participate in the public hearings around tariffs.
Exercises and group work were carried out in three sessions, where participants enthusiastically participated and finally added their handprint to indicate personal commitment to a “Just Energy Future”.
The evaluation of the workshop indicated that participants valued the inputs and resources and would like to see such workshops repeated more often in the future.