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An online Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) Application Platform has been developed with support from Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) to streamline the process of submitting and approving applications. The platform will be made available for all municipalities to use. George Municipality is once again a leader in the process as it is one of the pilot municipalities, in keeping with its proactive promotion of sustainable energy.

Small Scale embedded generator (SSEG) refers to the power generated in residential, commercial or industrial areas. These are mainly the photovoltaic (PV) systems that include other technologies such as inverters, Bi-directional meters and battery storage. An SSEG customer generates electricity on the side and synchronises with the municipal grid. Up to now, almost all municipalities have only allowed for a manual SSEG application submission. Due to the manual application process, a number of applications were delayed due to incorrect or incomplete information being submitted, causing significant delays in the approval process.

According to the Director for Electrotechnical Services in the George Municipality, Bongani Mandla, the Online Platform simplifies and speeds up the process considerably. “It immediately notifies the applicant if the information is incomplete or incorrect and will not submit the application until these and other parameters have been checked and verified,” he said.

“It also facilitates the process of checking by officials, as the platform automatically does the necessary checks and calculations, prompts for the information needed, and ensures that officials are guided through all the required assessment steps seamlessly. A GIS facility allows officials to see all registered installations to help keep an eye on network congestion in particular areas,” Mandla added.

Importantly, it alerts municipal officials of the arrival of new applications and keeps the applicant informed of stages in the process by automating email communications. A common complaint of applicants is that they have no idea if their application has been accepted, is being looked at, or needs correcting. This communication automation helps address the issue.

It further helps municipalities by keeping a record of data from all applications, making reporting to NERSA easy and enabling quick totalling of SSEG capacity registered on the platform.

Mphielo Ramotsamai, from the George Municipality’s Electrotechnical Services, has been driving this process with the help of Sustainable Energy. “Since George municipality accepts or allows the SSEG on the network, I coordinate the process from the municipality side, Ramotsamai said. “Last year we were invited by Sustainable Energy Africa to be part of the Online Platform Pilot for SSEG; this was followed by a series of meetings and training. We are happy to confirm that the system is available already to the public.

By the end of February, the platform is expected to be ready for all municipalities to join. Municipal Distributors wanting to be included on the Platform should email