Wednesday, 20 October 2021

News — Regulation of electricity self-generation in Eswatini - Types of Generators to be Exempted

Regulation of electricity self-generation in Eswatini - Types of Generators to be Exempted
100kva diesel generator

The global sectoral developments in electricity self-generation continue to play a vital role in the increase of local electricity supply and goes a long way in meeting the country’s power demands.  Electricity has inevitably become a basic need and the most sought for source of energy in Eswatini, which echoes the need for increased electricity capacity as we pursue a sustainable supply.  Whilst the country works on measures to increase power generation for the country’s grid supply, we continue to see more Emaswati, domestic and corporate, pursue self-generation of electricity for their own use.  The Electricity Act of 2007 highlights that any person who wishes to pursue self-generation of power may do so in accordance with regulations made under the Act.  In this article, we speak about the types of self-generation technologies that are regulated as per the Electricity Act,2007.

It is essential to highlight that Section 3, subsection 3 of the Electricity Act, 2007, provides that any person who wishes to erect and establish any works which will be rated at the site where it is to be installed at a capacity of 100 kilowatts or more for generating, transmitting, transforming, con-verting or distributing electricity, shall do so in accordance with regulations made under this Act, and shall comply with any requirement of the Minister or the Authority for the purpose of facilitating co-ordination with existing or future electricity undertakings.   Furthermore, Section 9 of the Electricity Licensing Bylaws states that a generator who generates electricity with a plant of 100 kilowatt (kW) or more exclusively for own use shall apply for an exemption to hold a license.  The fundamental issue here is the acknowledgment and compliance to the regulation of self-generators who produce a capacity of 100 kilowatts or more.

Many stakeholders have raised vital questions, seeking clarity about the types of self-generation technologies included in these regulation requirements.  Most stakeholders in the country, such as corporate institutions, use Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) technologies and/or back-up deasil generators as part of their power generation systems.  Whilst it is true that these technologies are a part of power self-generation systems, it is important to note that they are not included in the types of technologies that need to be exempted because UPS systems store the electricity already generated where as Back-up Deasil Generators work as a back-up system for times when grid supply is unavailable, they are not the primary source of supply for this user.  

Regulation of electricity self-generation in Eswatini - Types of Generators to be Exempted
100kva diesel generator

In particular, the facilities or technologies included in the regulation requirements for exceptions are those that work as the primary supply of electricity for the user.  For instance, if the user desires to install a solar power system that will generate a capacity of 100kW or more, as a primary source of power for their facility, this user will need to apply for an exception prior to installing the power system. 

One may wonder what happens if the power generation system is set to work together with the grid supply, such that should the power system experience cut offs, the grid supply will kick in as back-up.  Such instances are a common set-up in the local self-generation space, however, it is key to note that whenever the power self-generation system is the primary source of supply, the Electricity Act specifies that the user will need to have been exempted by the Authority.

All entities and/or individuals in Eswatini with installed electricity facilities with capacities of 100kW and above without the applicable approvals or permits from the national Energy Regulator are reminded to apply for these, if such applications have not been made. 

Regulation of electricity self-generation in Eswatini - Types of Generators to be Exempted
UPS system