Energy regulator Nersa will soon withdraw proposed rules that would have required private owners of rooftop solar panels and stand-by generators to register these installations with it.
It might however return at a later stage.
Nersa on April 26 published for public comment draft rules for the registration of small-scale embedded generation with a capacity of less than 1MW. The rules would apply to residential rooftop solar panels, stand-by generators, co-generation by industry and commercial or industrial power generation whether they are connected to the grid or not, as long as it does not exceed the 1MW cap.
This has been met with widespread resistance with comment that government is over-reaching.
Individuals, who have invested heavily in alternative energy in an effort to become more independent from Eskom or municipal power, objected to perceived government control over their systems and potential levying of tariffs on self-generated power.
The consultation paper containing Nersa’s rules proposal followed a notice by the Minister of energy published in the Government Gazette late last year that gave exemption to these small-scale generators from the obligation to require a license to generate electricity from Nersa. Such licenses are required for all power stations and obtaining it is a lengthy and costly process.
The rules proposed by Nersa would have given effect to the notice by the Department of Energy.
On Friday Nersa however issued a press release stating that the minister “has recently amended the gazetted Licensing Exemption and Registration Notice”.
The regulator did not clarify what the amendment entailed. It merely indicates that it would review its proposed rules, since the two documents have to be aligned.
Neither the Department of Energy nor Nersa would supply Moneyweb with a copy of the amendment.
Eventually Moneyweb determined that while Nersa has had sight of the proposed amendment, it has not yet been published in the government Gazette and therefore does not yet have any official standing.
Moneyweb has been told that the minister will now first invite public comment before finalising the notice. Only once this has been finalised, will Nersa embark on a process to finalise the rules.
Nersa, in the meantime, will have to go through a governance process before it can officially withdraw the current consultation paper with proposed rules. Once that has been done, the paper will be withdrawn, to be aligned with the notice, once that has been finalised, Moneyweb has been told.