By Georgina Blumears
January saw SAFCEI and faith leaders back, at what seems to be becoming an annual event, a public consultation on rising electricity costs.
At the latest public hearings held by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) Eskom is looking to recoup R27.3-billion to cover its costs from the 2018/19 financial year, meaning electricity tariffs may rise by 12-17% next year.
Ahead of the hearings, we sent NERSA our objections.
The hearings for the Western Cape took place at the Southern Sun Hotel in Cape Town. This event brought together many stakeholders concerned with energy justice and the impact that a tariff increase would have on the economy, including for communities already struggling to pay for their electricity and other sectors such as the agriculture sector and so on. The economic & impact was presented by a number of organisations including Energy Advisors and Agri Western Cape, highlighted the glaring inconsistencies in Eskom’s presentation and mammoth gaps in accountable governance and resource management within the state-owned enterprize.
Kim Kruyshaar, representing SAFCEI, delivered a technical submission which highlighted the need to stop giving Eskom ‘band-aid money’ at the expense of South African citizens.
Soraya Salie, a South African FLEAT member and energy programme participant, spoke giving insights into the plight of the marginalised within communities such as Bonteheuwel where she lives. “Eskom is robbing us of our dignity and the right to affordable clean energy” this was the main message of ‘Auntie’ Soraya that emotively and very clearly said to Eskom – enough is enough.
Finally, Sizwe Manqele, SAFCEI volunteer and community activist from Khayelitsha, read an open letter/prose titled ”Hayi Eskom Hayi!”. An extract from Sizwe’s reading:
“According to my best of knowledge and understanding, Eskom is a well respected and trusted brand that is quickly turning into a much disliked and unwanted entity, much like the apartheid South Africa. With or without electricity in my life I find it difficult to let my trust and faith be wasted on something that always demands so much and never reaches it’s full potential.I don’t mind living without electricity from Eskom, but I also know just how tough life can be without electricity from Eskom. This realization and lesson I have excelled in like all other South Africans. Eskom, I have learned my lesson. I need to stop pouring money on you and start getting creative from nothing. Should I get back to stone age, if there ever was one?”
Presentations for the public hearing on Eskom’s application are available on www.nersa.org.za – Consultation>Presentations>Electricity
More information about the hearings can be found here.