Alternative Electricity Supply and SSEG systems – Regulations, laws and by-laws to adhere to:

Alternative Electricity Regulations

If you are a home owner, and you have installed some sort of backup electrical system, are you sure it is fully legal and compliant?

Understanding the Legal Landscape of Alternative Electricity Systems:

If you are a home owner, and you have installed some sort of backup electrical system, are you sure it is fully legal and compliant? Loadshedding, coupled with soaring electricity costs, has resulted in many homeowners installing alternative electricity supplies at their homes, such as solar panels with inverter battery backup systems, generators, and so forth.  These systems could add value to your home if you decide to sell…. BUT most homeowners do not realise that most of these systems need to comply with various regulations and laws and by-laws, and if you do not comply with all the relevant regulations,  it could all end up being a very costly mistake… I’m going to shed some light on this so that you can be better informed…

Before we dive into the details, just a quick disclaimer: I’m not a legal expert in this specific field, I am also not an electricity expert, or an SSEG expert. I am sharing this information in good faith, and it is simply intended to make you more aware of all the relevant regulations so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law… AND not only that, but you ALSO want to make sure your installation is safe for you and your loved ones!!!

Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) Systems:

In this video I will specifically be talking about systems that we mostly find in domestic homes, referred to as Small Scale Embedded Generation (or SSEG). Essentially, it involves any electricity generation systems that produce less than 1 MVA (or Mega Volt Amp), AND also which are CONNECTED TO THE DISTRIBUTION BOARD. This includes things like solar Photovoltaic panels (simply known as PV panels), inverter battery backup systems, generators, and certain PV water heating systems, if they are Connected To The Distribution Board.

Legal Framework for SSEG:

OK, so on the legal side of SSEG, There are various regulations that you need to be aware of, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Electrical Installation Regulations, The Electricity Regulation Act, and any relevant local bylaws that are applicable specifically where you live… an Example of that is the Electricity Supply By-Law in the City of Cape Town.

Approval and Registration Process:

If you have an SSEG system that operates alongside the grid, it MUST be approved and properly registered. This involves getting WRITTEN permission from the relevant authorities (as an example – in Cape Town you need written permission from the Electricity Generation and Distribution Department). Also, as part of this whole process, you may only install certain types of inverters that have been pre-approved by the authorities, and you must have the design signed off by an engineer who is registered with the Engineering Council of SA.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

Here’s the serious part: installing an SSEG WITHOUT proper consent is actually considered a criminal offense. It could lead to hefty service fees, penalty fees, disconnection of your supply, de-commissioning of your whole system, and even possible imprisonment. As a property owner, YOU are personally responsible for the safety of the SSEG installation.

ALSO, you could face serious complications if you need to claim from your insurance regarding anything that may have occurred due to malfunction of your SSEG system, and your insurance could refuse to pay you out. Let’s say your whole house burns down… if it was due to an illegal SSEG system, you could possibly end up receiving no pay-out at all from your insurance.

Selling Property with SSEG:

Now let’s look at the implications when you SELL your property. If selling your property with an existing SSEG, there are important considerations.

If the system is properly authorised and registered: The buyer will need to sign a new “Supplemental Contract” and a Declaration which ensures that the new owner takes full responsibility for the safety and operation of the installation.

If the system WAS NEVER authorized, the new owner will have to assume responsibility to have it authorized OR ELSE he faces decommissioning of the system!

That is why, as a seller, you need to inform buyers about your SSEG and its compliance status, this is really an important issue that can have dire consequences if you don’t play open cards with everyone.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, these Electricity Generation systems can be a great addition to your property, but it does come with some responsibilities… so it is essential to navigate the legal landscape carefully, AND probably more importantly, do everything possible to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

So… Choose your installer wisely, make sure they comply with all regulations, and always stay informed about the latest laws and bylaws.

Remember to always verify all information with the relevant authorities or experts in the field for the most accurate and up-to-date information.