Cape Town expects its population to grow rapidly by around 400,000 between 2020 and 2025, with this influx expected to have implications for service delivery in the region.
That’s according to the city’s latest energy report which focuses on electricity supply and Cape Town’s plans to move away from the grid and load shedding from Eskom.
“Based on trends in population growth, a change in income distribution over time is unlikely, meaning that around 76% of all new households will be low income – earning less than R13,000 per month,” the city said. “These urbanization trends will continue to have a significant impact on the city’s spending on access to sustainable energy and other basic services.”
Cape Town currently provides a social electricity package to eligible low-income households. The package includes subsidized grid connections and a subsidized tariff, which is combined with one of two free basic electricity (FBE) allowances.
“Although Cape Town is 98% electrified, around 10,000 households in informal settlements cannot get electricity from the grid, have no access to any energy subsidies and are the most vulnerable to energy poverty and its attendant consequences. effects,” he said.
“These informal settlements cannot be electrified because they are usually located on land reserved for infrastructure expansion, unsuitable or unsafe for development, or legally contested.”
Despite the provision of subsidized grid connections and monthly stipends, the basic energy needs of Cape Town’s poor are still not being adequately met, the city said.
Some of the proposals to address this issue that are being considered by the city include:
- The supply of liquefied petroleum gas as a cleaner and more sustainable source of energy;
- The deployment of solar water heaters in formal households;
- Promote and facilitate the thermal efficiency of dwellings, in particular by installing ceilings where dwellings do not have them;
- Shifting electricity consumption to off-peak periods (although it is recognized that this is not easily achievable in low-income households, innovative solutions such as cost-effective energy storage will be required);
- The provision of small off-grid solar home systems (50 to 75 Wp), either individually or through “mini-grids”, to off-grid households;
- Optimization of Electricity Lifeline tariffs to circumvent the obstacles to the increase in consumption;
- Education and awareness that empowers residents to make good choices, covering topics such as safety, subsidies, energy efficiency, fuel choices, and the longevity and running costs of energy appliances;
- Further studies to understand current energy layering practices, including drivers of resident choices, purchasing patterns, usage patterns, and most importantly, cultural and social perceptions of various energy options. Another area of interest is the effect of introducing liquefied petroleum gas into the household energy mix on electricity purchases and time-of-use patterns.
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