Towards an independent system operator for South Africa

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University of Cape Town

Purpose of the report: This report considers the implementation of an independent system operator (ISO) in South Africa. In particular the report examines the key functions that an ISO would need to perform in the light of major policy choices facing the country. Methodology: This research was undertaken at a stage when the South African government had only made very brief policy statements about its intention to establish an ISO. No detailed discussion documents, government policy or draft legislation were available to the public. The research was therefore based on interviews with informed individuals, a review of various confidential draft policy documents and a limited review of the international literature. Terminology: Government initially used the term ‘independent system operator’. Strictly speaking this is probably not the correct term given the range of functions under consideration. Government subsequently shifted to ‘independent system and market operator’. If government plans to include transmission functions within the new entity it may be more appropriate to rather refer to ‘transmission system operator’, ‘national grid company’ or some variation of these. For the sake of consistency and clarity, ISO is throughout the report, focusing on the underlying functions to be performed.