Eskom appoints debt collectors to chase defaulters

Power utility Eskom has appointed 30 companies to crack down on consumers who are in arrears with their electricity bills, according to a source.

The plan could put Eskom on a collision course with communities and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) which has accused the state entity of overstepping its constitutional mandate and threatening electricity services.

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SA’s renewable power plan runs out of steam

South Africa’s infant renewable energy industry appears to be running out of steam after a galloping start. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme kicked off on a high note after being approved in 2011 and quickly attracted huge interest from investors, thanks to the generosity of state-owned power utility Eskom, which bought solar and wind energy from independent power producers (IPPs) at high tariffs in the early bidding rounds of the programme.

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Sasol’s Mozambique gas project paying off despite criticism

There is a school of thought that is suspicious of foreign direct investment (FDI), viewing it as nothing more than a plundering of natural resources and exploitation of consumers by ruthless capitalists, who once they are done with sucking the blood out of hapless domestic economies, move on to the next host to carry on with the pillaging.

Many multinational companies that invest in emerging economies try to do their best to avoid being linked to this crude description of FDI, which is akin to modern-day imperialism.

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Tanking oil prices threaten SA's shale gas ambition

South Africa’s long-held ambition of becoming a major player in the shale gas market could come under threat if oil prices continue to tumble in the face of an oil glut masterminded by Saudi Arabia’s flooding of the world with cheap oil to drive shale frackers out of the oil global market.

Oil pundits in the US, where there was a vibrant shale gas industry before oil prices started heading south, are leading the charge in predicting that oil prices could crash to $10 a barrel this year, triggering massive debt defaults by companies producing oil from shale gas.

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Once-stalled hydro power project surging ahead

South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are finalising their agreement to build an ambitious multibillion hydropower plant to provide cheap electricity to five southern African countries.

The Grand Inga project is seen by some as the panacea to Africa’s perennial energy woes and a boost for its industrial and manufacturing sectors. The first phase will be developed on the lower end of DRC’s giant Congo River and will generate nearly 5 000MW of power for SADC countries, of which South Africa is expected to get 2 500MW as the principal buyer.

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