Programme Director,
EU Ambassador to Swaziland,
Acting RERA Chairperson & Acting NERSA Chief Executive Officer,
SADC Energy Thematic Group Lead Cooperating Partner,
SADC Secretariat Representative,
SAPP Chairperson/Representative,
RERA Executive Secretary,
SERA Chairperson,
Hon. Chairpersons of the Ministry’s Portfolio Committee (Both Houses of Parliament,
Principal Secretary – Ministry of Natural Resources & Energy,
Chief Executive Officers,
Government officials,
Captains of industry,
Conference participants,
All media houses present,
Ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Swaziland Government and my Ministry it is such a privilege and honour for me to welcome you all today to the 12th Annual Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) Conference.

We are proud as the Swazi Nation to be this year’s host for such a very important Regional developmental meeting. We welcome regulators, industry leaders, policy makers, power utilities, investors, financiers, cooperating and development partners and other stakeholders to this forum.

It is befitting that the Conference and General Meeting is being held under the theme “Regulating for Sustainable Development of the Regional Energy Sector to Support the Socio-economic and Industrialisation Advancement in the SADC Region.”

The issues covered by the theme are all critical, cross-cutting in the energy sector and very essential to be discussed for the development of the region.

Over the two days of the Conference, focus will be on issues such as linking energy infrastructure to industrialisation; enhancing energy security; accelerating universal energy access; mobilising private sector participation as well as developing sustainable energy supply options among a long list of other topics to be deliberated on.

We welcome the introduction of topics such as “Women in Energy” as this ensures equitable participation in developmental issues in the energy sector.

For stakeholders who have registered to learn more about the sector, the topic on ensuring bankability/viability of projects and utilities is one that will surely empower you.

We believe that the over 20 key expert speakers, from across the region, will each provide valuable insight on each of the topics and provoke fruitful discussions aimed at enhancing the sector.

As you enter the discussions, it is important to take stock of the challenges facing the sector and seek to find sustainable solutions for the advancement of the Region.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, in particular, is still facing a number of challenges with regard to energy availability, delivery, access and affordability. One of the pertinent indicators is that the overall electricity access for the Region currently stands at 36% compared to 44% for the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). Swaziland, in particular, has set a target to reach 100% electricity access by 2022. The country has shown a great improvement in electricity access, which currently stands at 66%.

In terms of the power supply and demand situation in SADC, as of the end of June 2015, the mainland member states had an installed generation capacity of 61,859 MW, available capacity of 52,589 MW, operating capacity of 46,916 MW against a demand of 48 216 MW.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when taking into account the current peak demand and generation capacity reserve margins, the Regional capacity shortfall stood at 8,247 MW. With such a deficit, industrialisation and economic development is compromised.

Swaziland is one of the countries in the Region that is working tirelessly to improve local power generation. It is a known fact, ladies and gentlemen that we import about 75% of our power requirements from neighbouring countries. The country has come up with a generation plan that will ensure self sufficiency and possibly export the access power to the Region. The generation plan includes renewable energy resources and coal fired thermal power station.

During the 34th meeting of the SADC Ministers Responsible for Energy in Sandton in July, this year, as Ministers we noted that medium term measures to address the generation deficit include rehabilitation and generation projects to achieve energy adequacy by 2019. This include additional 24,062 MW of new generation capacity of which 70% is expected to come from renewable energy sources (hydro, wind and solar).

Ministers therefore urged member states to take the necessary measures to ensure completion of projects as per planned milestones.

Whilst discussing this power deficit issue and inviting the private sector to invest, financial institutions are looking at bankable projects to fund.  We, therefore, cannot talk about all these and forget the issue of “Cost Reflective Tariffs”.  As we look at cost reflective tariffs, we also have to consider how the less privileged than us will access this important resource. As regulators, you have to balance the universal energy access acceleration against the issue of cost reflective tariffs. The SADC Governments are looking up to you, regulators, to come up with strategies to foster industrialisation and socio-economic development.

The Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) has been implementing a number of Demand Side Management programmes which include the replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs), installation of solar water heaters, improvement of commercial lighting and hot water load control.

Ministers reiterated the Decision made at their 33rd Meeting urging Member States to phase out incandescent bulbs and other inefficient lighting devices and replace them with quality approved energy saving bulbs by 31st December 2016 and this is critical given the power deficit being experienced now.

Swaziland is also embracing this stance. In our National Development Strategy under Energy we outline strategic objectives to enable the energy sector to fully assume its central role towards achieving socio-economic development.

We are aware and appreciate that even in your respective countries energy is a vital part of the national development axis. Your presence here today certainly shows the commitment towards that.

We thank you our esteemed guests for making the journey to the beautiful Kingdom of Swaziland for this meeting and also thank local stakeholders for their participation. We trust our guests will enjoy their stay here and that everyone will have fruitful deliberations and a successful conference. During the Conference you will get to network and exchange information on pertinent electricity supply and industry issues.

At this juncture I would like to declare the 2015 RERA 12th Annual Conference officially opened!

I thank You,
May God Bless You all.

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