Chamber’s response to Eskom’s call for 25.3% increase

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has admitted that load shedding will cost the economy between R20 billion and R80 billion a month but that is just the start. Major power users who are also major employers have been asked to reduce their electricity consumption by 20 percent and how many new projects have been put on hold or abandoned because there was not enough electricity to drive them?

All these factors reduce Eskom’s sale of electricity and consequently its income. It is not the fault of business or the consumer and to expect the victims to pay 25.3% more for electricity is unreasonable and irrational.

Of further great concern is that Eskom treats different customers differently. The residents of Soweto, for instance, owe Eskom more in arrears than all the municipalities in South Africa combined. But, instead of finding ways to collect this money, Eskom runs along to Nersa for the third time this year to demand that the people who do actually pay for their electricity should pay more.

We have reached the point where we must say NO to Eskom. We have had enough. We must tell Eskom that it will simply have to find ways to cut its costs or start selling off its assets, as the cabinet’s “war room” has now suggested.

Private sector firms have had to resort to drastic measures in the past like wage freezes, the scrapping of bonuses, working short time and retrenchments in order to survive. It is not nice but the time for niceties is over. Eskom is in a state of crisis that it has brought on itself. We have to face the fact that it is failing in the task it was set up to do. Eskom must start handing over the task of generating electricity to the private sector and perhaps some of the better run municipalities.

Janine Myburgh
President of the Cape Chamber

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