The Eskom Research Reference Group was formed in September 2018, following a three-day working meeting on energy democracy in Johannesburg. The Reference Group is researching both the origins and structural features of the current crisis and how to address it. The research work is looking beyond Eskom’s immediate challenges to map a bold approach to South Africa’s energy transition.
The Reference Group takes the view that electricity must remain a public service and the utility’s infrastructure should remain in public hands. We believe that the utility must be reformed from top to bottom, with transparent and effective governance structures introduced that give decision making powers to workers, middle management, and representatives of communities and municipalities. The Reference Group is currently developing proposals along these lines.
WHAT WE DO
We are currently engaged in a comprehensive analysis of South Africa’s electricity sector, the necessary energy transition, and the role of a radically reformed public utility. This study – rooted in the experiences and knowledge of the labour movement and specifically the knowledge and insights of NUMSA and NUM – includes an in-depth assessment of the Eskom crisis. We are formulating proposals for an extensive reform of the entire electricity sector, including the role of independent power producers (IPPs) in the generation of renewable energy.
THE REFERENCE GROUP
The Reference Group is an open space for developing a road map to establish a new public electricity system. It is currently composed of NUMSA and NUM – the principal unions at ESKOM – as well as several other labour formations, the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED, a global network of unions) and the Transnational Institute (TNI, an Amsterdam-based think tank).