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Load shedding news – Eskom Tariff Increases would be Reckless

6 May 2008

Allowing Eskom’s requested 53 percent tariff increase would be reckless, the Democratic Alliance said last Tuesday. Expecting government and, in particular, the public to condone a 60 percent tariff increase was without grounds or basis.

“It is the DA’s view that an agreement to any additional tariff increases would be reckless in light of the prevailing failures by government and mismanagement on the part of Eskom,” said party minerals and energy spokesperson, Hendrik Schmidt.

In a submission to the National Energy Regulator (Nersa), tasked with regulating the electricity, piped-gas and petroleum pipeline industries, the DA said it recommended an independent inquiry into South Africa’s energy crisis before any tariff hikes could be considered.

“The electricity crisis with which we are now faced has been fraught with Eskom mismanagement and government failure – the mismanagement has led to a serious loss of confidence in Eskom’s ability to manage its own affairs, both from a financial as well as an operational perspective.”

“An independent multi-disciplinary task team must urgently be appointed to investigate the causes of, and possible solutions, to the current crisis. Merely agreeing to the increases would most probably lead to further mismanagement.”

Schmidt said that the party had requested an independent commission of inquiry to assess Eskom’s culpability in the crisis, its current production capacity and its ability to provide continuous future supply on 19 March 2008, a request which had so far been ignored.

Tuesday was the final day for written submissions to Nersa on the proposed tariff hike, and Schmidt said the DA proposed that until completion of the inquiry, no application for an increase be entertained by NERSA.

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