‘Poor not asked on Eskom hike’

2010-03-29 00:00

SOUTH Africans are the victims of the policies that were made in 1996 and they have no recourse, says Cosatu’s provincial secretary Zet Luzipho.

Luzipho was addressing more than 100 Msunduzi residents in a public meeting held at the city hall last week to discuss the electricity price increase.

Represented at the meeting were the Msunduzi Municipality, Nersa, Eskom, Cosatu and environmental group GroundWork.

Energy regulator Nersa has approved a 24,8% increase for Eskom from April 1.

Luzipho scorned Nersa for approving the increase without consultation with the unions and the public.

Most questions were directed to Eskom, as those in attendance wanted to know whether the poor were consi­dered when the increase was approved and what role Nersa played in ensuring the poor were not dealt a low blow.

People also wanted to know how much multi-national companies such as BHP Billiton and others pay for their electricity.

Nersa representative Peter Buys distanced his institution from any wrongdoing, stating that they don’t formulate policies, but implement them.

“We consider the economic impact. For example, Eskom wanted an increase of 45% initially and the government offered 35%, but we said no and that increase went down to 25%.”

Eskom representatives were given little chance to defend themselves, with people concluding that the electricity increase is one way of financing the $3,75 billion (R29 billion) loan from the World Bank.

Eskom’s Fiets Bores said the solution to the problem is that everyone concerned should not look at the cost, but at how to come up with ways that will soften the impact of the increase. Suggestions were given to develop renewable and alternative clean energy for homes and reduce electricity consumption.

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