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Eskom’s electrification programme improves quality of life
Mongezi Ntsokolo, Eskom’s Group Executive for Distribution writes: "Over 90% of South African households currently have access to electricity, a jump leap from a mere 34% in 1991 when the electrification programme was launched. In partnership with the Department of Energy (DoE), Eskom has concluded the current financial year ending March 2017, having realised an amazing achievement of connecting 207,436 new households to the electricity grid against a target of 169,722 that has been set for us by the Department of Energy.
This effectively means that, from the dawn of democracy in 1994 until now, a cumulative total of 4.7 million new households have been connected to the grid. More work still needs to be done to reach the remaining 10% of households that still do not have access to electricity.
To this end, that National Treasury has allocated about R18 billion ($1 billion) to the DoE for electrification over the next three years. An estimated 723,000 grid and 60,000 non-grid connections to households are expected to be made over the medium term, funded by transfers to implementing municipalities, non-grid service providers and Eskom.
As noted by the National Treasury in the Estimates of National Expenditure, the cost of connections is expected to increase over the medium term as the integrated national electrification programme shifts to deep rural areas, requiring more expensive hardware and covering larger geographic areas. Electrification brings with it social and economic benefits, with the most immediate benefit being that beneficiaries, and women in particular, no longer have to walk long distances to collect fire wood.
Nations that use more power, tend to have increased income levels and educational attainment, as well as lower risk of infant mortality. South Africa is no different to this trend. Eskom exists to continuously have a positive impact on the lives of all South Africans through a robust programme of electrifying every household.
Eskom has responded to the call by government to implement universal access and connected over 1.7 million new households in the period up to the year 2000, exceeding the target set by government. When Eskom exceeded the government programme, it was making a new connection every 30 seconds, planting a pole every 10 seconds, and stringing 200m of cable every minute."