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Eskom price hike hearings set for city

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Eskom has applied for a 45% multi-year tariff increase (on top of an already approved 12% increase)

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THE NATIONAL Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) will be holding public hearings in Kimberley later this month on Eskom’s Third Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD3) Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) Year 5 (2017/18) and MYPD4 applications.

The public hearings for the Northern Cape will be held at the Kimberley Big Hole in West Circular Road on January 21.

The programmes for the public hearings will be available on Nersa’s website at www.nersa.org.za by Friday, January 13.

Eskom has applied for a 45% multi-year tariff increase (on top of an already approved 12% increase).

Energy expert, Ted Blom, has meanwhile called on Eskom to scrap its application, stating that the utility should not be granted any increases until a full forensic audit has been completed.

“As we now enter 2019, Eskom is rudderless,” Blom said. “The Eskom board has proved to be dysfunctional and required Ministerial intervention on several occasions. Although appointed 12 months ago, they have been unable to carve out a credible turnaround plan, despite the use of expensive outside consultants.”

Blom further pointed out the skills shortage has lead to the President intervening by appointing “eight wise men” to steer the board in the right direction by a deadline set for January 31 2019.

“The many futile interventions point to an unsalvageable and bankrupt Eskom,” said Blom. “In fact, the pillaging is still continuing, this time by another ‘third force’ which has replaced the Zupta gang.”

He stated that the extent of the pillaging had already been confirmed by the Public Protector, the Parliamentary Investigation report, the Dentons report, and in Eskom’s annual report where it references corruption over 30 times.

“Questions remain as to why no-one has been prosecuted and no monetary recovery has occurred.

“Throwing coal on the fire is an acknowledgement of serious design flaws at Medupi and Kusile, resulting in an estimated 10% or more performance incapacity – according to Minister Gordhan’s latest revelations. Yet Eskom kept this quiet since the first commission began in 2012,” Blom added

“Where are the auditors and Eskom Governance structures in all this mess?”

Blom further pointed out that Eskom had also acknowledged coal procurements lapses of late.

According to Blom, rampant coal procurement fraud has been ongoing since 2006, and Eskom has ignored or blessed this ongoing fraud annually.

“Although Eskom has acknowledged a bloated headcount (estimates are at 35 000, including ghost workers), Nersa continues to ignore the gross inefficiencies and has, since 2008, granted tariff increases of some 500% above the corresponding inflation rate.

“This has just fueled and financed the rampant corruption,” claimed Blom.

Still to be uncovered is the actual loss been forced onto Eskom as a result of government’s corrupt renewable schemes, he said.

“Last year, it sucked around R34 billion from Eskom revenue and is destined to increase to
R50 billion for this year.”

Another 14 GW of REIPP is in the pipeline on top of the currently approved 6 GW and Blom suggested that this will “kill off” Eskom within months as lenders can see the writing on the wall.

Blom intends representing electricity users at the Northern Cape public hearing venues as well as all other provincial hearings.

“Against these dire circumstances, it is not appropriate for Eskom to proceed with their ‘business as usual’ tariff increase applications,” Blom stated.