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Eskom downgrading – DA calls for government action

14 August 2008

Statement by Manie van Dyk MP, DA Spokesperson on Public Enterprises.

In light of the downgrading of Eskom by Moody’s Rating Agency, and pending ratings by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch rating agencies, the Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the government to provide a clear plan on how it is going to help Eskom raise the R343 billion for its capital expansion programme without resorting to tariff increases.

Government is the only shareholder in Eskom and should thus adopt actions that will bolster the utility’s plummeting credit rating, and ensure that the South African public is receiving the service from Eskom it deserves.

It is a matter of concern that the downgrading comes at a time when the business community and South Africans are reeling from soaring food and fuel prices – any further tariff hikes by Eskom will negatively affect our growth prospects.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hayibo Eskom 3: Eskom’s latest ransom demand

8 August 2008

Eskom is a popular topic for Hayibo.com‘s satire:

Eskom phones in with latest ransom demands

PRETORIA. After months of inactivity and minimal load-shedding, rogue utility company Eskom has come out of hiding to deliver its latest demands. According to a government spokesman, Eskom called in using a disposable SIM card, demanding R5 billion in unmarked R50 notes and threatening to black out the country again if it saw any police at the drop-off point.

Click to continue reading at Hayibo.com.

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Carbon taxes could open the door for greater investment in renewable energy

4 August 2008

The Democratic Alliance last week welcomed the announcement by Cabinet of a policy framework on climate change – most notably the announcement that a new series of carbon taxes will likely be introduced.

“South Africa is one of the most carbon-intensive countries in the world and it is incumbent on this country to reduce its emissions in the future in order to play its role in stabilising the world’s climate,” said DA environmental affairs spokesman Gareth Morgan.

While cautious of the additional costs placed on business by carbon taxes, Morgan said they were essential for the creation of a price for carbon, which was a prerequisite for creating a carbon market. He added that they should be introduced gradually to allow businesses to adjust, and in conjunction with other fiscal measures that would reduce the costs of doing business in South Africa.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Hayibo Eskom part 2: Eskom delighted by new euphemisms for total incompetence

20 June 2008

Another piece of satire from Hayibo.com:

Eskom delighted by new euphemisms for total incompetence

JOHANNESBURG. Power utility Eskom says it is delighted with its latest euphemism, released to the media last week. According to the press release, “unplanned power cuts could occur at very short notice”, which Eskom says is a state-of-the-art way of describing the total failure of the power grid, for no reason, with nobody held accountable.

Eskom spokesman Sparks Maponya said the corporation has been concerned for some time how an already stressed public would respond to the news that the national power grid was about to collapse without notice at any moment.

“Focus groups suggested that our Inevitable Failure Scenario Announcement would not sufficiently reassure the nation,” said Maponya.

According to Maponya, this announcement, to be sent automatically to all media in the event of a total collapse of the grid, would have read, ‘The grid, it is broken. No, I don’t know. I just work here. I’m on lunch. No, I don’t know. Okay bye.’

But Maponya said the new press release had already achieved its goal by “not causing widespread civil pandemonium”.

Visit Hayibo.com to read on >>

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Energy News – Regional Electricity Distributors should be scrapped

17 June 2008

DA minerals and energy spokesperson Hendrik Schmidt issued a statement last Tuesday reiterating the DA’s call that Regional Electricity Distributers (REDs) should be scrapped. You might recall a previous video post about why RED 1 failed.

Similar problems again surfaced during a electricity distribution maintenance summit last week. South African Local Government Association revealed an estimated R25 billion maintenance backlog, largely due to the uncertainty around the establishment of the REDs.

Said Schmidt, “Billions in maintenance backlogs is yet another reason why REDs must be done away with. It is evident that urgent maintenance in distribution networks is needed before the whole electricity sector collapses.”

He added that the Democratic Alliance had advocated the introduction of a well-defined Distribution Charter, which would spell out the full functions and standards expected of electricity service providers.

“In addition to this, greater authority must be placed with the electricity regulator to both monitor and enforce compliance with the Distribution Charter,” Schmidt concluded.

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Lighter side of load shedding – Hayibo, Eskom

13 June 2008

This story was in our inbox this morning – had to google the headline to discover that it comes from a satirical site (if not mistaken, run by Tom Eaton) called Hayibo:

Blackouts back as Eskom caught off-guard by shock cooling called ‘winter’

JOHANNESBURG. A week after announcing that loadshedding would be halted, Eskom says an unexpected change in the Earth’s axis has plunged the country into a time of cold and darkness, prompting possible future power cuts. The phenomenon, identified by scientists as “winter”, has reportedly caused widespread panic at the utility.

Addressing journalists at Eskom’s Megawatt Park headquarters this morning, spokesman Eddie Motsepe apologised to consumers in advance for possible power outages, but said that the dramatic shift in the planet’s rotational alignment could not have been foreseen by the power provider.

“We are as confused and frightened as our consumers,” he said. “At this time all we know is that Earth has tilted over, and as such the southern hemisphere is no longer being struck by the full force of the sun’s rays.”

He said Eskom officials had confirmed that this phenomenon was known to the science community, and that it was called “winter”.

“We phoned the Geography department at the University of the Witwatersrand, and they told us,” he said.

He said he did not know whether or not “winter” would be permanent, but said the utility was preparing for the worst.

Visit Hayibo to read on…

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Energy news – budget vote season at Parliament

10 June 2008

The past four weeks have seen Parliament debating the budget votes of the national departments – an annual ritual and a busy time of year for the National Assembly – and Friday was the turn of Minerals and Energy .

Unsurprisingly, DA minerals and energy spokesperson Hendrik Schmidt put the energy crisis front-and-centre in his speech in the debate, saying that the department had been affected by some of the worst crises since 1994.

“It was Cabinet who took the decision not to allow Eskom to expand its generation capacity in order to lure private investment,” said Schmidt. “It was Eskom who warned government that South Africa would run out of power in 2007/8 followed by a failure by Cabinet to heed this advice. It was government who failed to restructure the electricity regulatory environment to attract private business – which was expected to invest billions of rand over a return of a period of 30-40 years. It is shortsightedness, lack of political leadership and vision as well as a failure by this government to give practical effect to the reality of the decision to attract private investment that has lead to the current crisis.”

He reiterated the DA’s call for an independent inquiry into Eskom’s management, and for the restructuring of the electricity sector to encourage private sector investment – a view echoed by a top business group this week.

Eskom was also a key focus of DA spokesperson on public enterprises Manie van Dyk’s speech in that department’s budget vote debate in May. Read the rest of this entry »