Activists proclaim 'new' Eskom management

2012-10-23 10:00

Cape Town - Environmental activists have protested at Eskom's headquarters, claiming Eskom management titles in a campaign to highlight the utility's electricity tariff application.

Activists from Greenpeace dropped a banner at the Megawatt Park headquarters reading "Eskom: Under New Management" and others chained themselves to the front entrance of the building.

Eskom has applied to Nersa (the National Energy Regulator of SA) for a 16% a year tariff increase that will see a doubling of electricity prices by 2018.

"We are here today because Eskom has clearly failed the people of South Africa, and we are united in calling for a fundamental shift away from coal by Eskom," said groundWork director Bobby Peek.

Eskom CEO Brian Dames said that the utility faced a steep increase in the cost of coal which makes up the majority of its costs.

Eskom titles

Opposition political parties have also rejected the price increase application saying that it would have a devastating impact on poor households.

"By rejecting Eskom's ludicrous 16% a year increase, Nersa will be sparing millions of South African households," Congress of the People spokesperson Beryl Ferguson said.

"We will continue our calls for an alternative pricing model in which consumers and businesses are not made to pay for inefficient capital expenditure programmes by a monopolistic state-owned energy provider," said Democratic Alliance MP David Ross.

Activists assigned themselves Eskom titles as a tongue-in-cheek gesture that they plan to take over the management of the utility and pushed for more environmentally sustainable practices, especially in the management of water in electricity production.

"However, at the moment Eskom is holding our water resources hostage by burning coal to produce electricity - using staggering amounts of the scarce resource, and pushing this country to the brink of a water crisis," said Melita Steele, Greenpeace Africa's climate and energy campaigner, who took the title of Eskom spokesperson.

Eskom has come under fire for pushing ahead with its capital expansion programme and the utility plans to bring the Medupi power station online in 2013.

The Kusile plant, also to be built in Limpopo, is expected to reduce the need to run the expensive open cycle gas turbines.


"Whilst government pumps billions into developing new Eskom coal-fired power stations to power industry, community people’s health is increasingly affected by the toxic by-products of coal from industries. This happens during each step of the coal to energy lifecycle," said Peek, who took the title of Eskom CEO.

While domestic users have been paying more for electricity, confidential contracts that Eskom has with massive industrial users has come under scrutiny.

Domestic users in SA account for around 17% of consumption, while industry takes up 37.7% and mining 15%, according to the government gazette on electricity pricing policy of 2008.

"It is this country's most impoverished who have to pay the real costs of coal: Unaffordable, dirty electricity, while BHP Billiton still gets electricity below cost - and the poor have to subsidise Eskom's loss of R5.5bn," said Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa.

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  • margaret.brand.12 - 2012-10-23 10:35

    ESKOM you only how to rip the public off ....Over the past few years there has been huge increses in the electricity tariffs and nothing positive is being done with the money with regards to the supply of electricity but there always seems to be enough money for huge bonuses.

      heathway.master - 2012-10-23 11:07

      As only 10% of the population bother to pay for electricity, they work out their annual costs, and then divide it up amongst those honest enough to pay. My suggestion is why doesn’t Eskom reduce its horrendous employee costs and obscene managers bonuses by 10%, and increase electricity costs to the consumers by 6%. The number of idle, apathetic, incompetent, loafers at Eskom, must in my opinion, be gigantic.

  • victor.windsor - 2012-10-23 10:43

    It does not matter what you do to save electricity these bastards will keep putting up the price, so why bother !!! Go out today and buy every single electrical appliance that you want and plug it in and use it because you are fighting a losing battle against these useless money ugrabbing theives.

  • tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-10-23 10:43

    Go Nuclear. Oops, that will get the Environmental activists even more upset.

  • steve.gibson.146612 - 2012-10-23 11:02

    I cannot understand why Nersa will even begin to think about this ludicrous request. My annual increase is based on the CPI which has never been higher than about 5.8% yet I am expected to accept and find the money to pay the new tariffs, bearing in mind, that the tariffs charged by my municipality are already three times higher than what Eskom charges them. The influence of 16% charged to me in Rand terms is therefore FAR greater. If a private company wishes to expand or is hit by higher commodity prices, they have to make sure that they are running efficiently and obtaining the highest productivity ratios. They cut their costs appropriately and mechanise wherever possble since they are unable to get prices for their commodity at higher than inflation. Therefore Eskom should also cut their cloth appropriately and make sure they start getting all the illegal useage paid for rather than getting the paying public to subsidise the non payers who are simply stealing power.They seriously need to look at their non productive and oberpaid workers instead of just passing on thes costs to the general public. I am gatvol with these general over inflation incerases we are exposed to such as Fuel,Municipal Rates and Charges,Licencing,Extra taxing,Security and Escorting costs for officialdom, etc. etc.

      steve.gibson.146612 - 2012-10-23 11:04

      My apologies for some of the spelling errors. My anger got the better of me!!!!

  • richard.fahrenfort - 2012-10-23 11:03

    30% of the problem here is Eksdom's coal costs. So what are they doing? Moving towards more coal usage! And Mr Dames makes R400 000 pm to make decisions like that? The sun, the wind and the sea are all free. Thorium also has big potential. That's already 30% of the costs gone. After these 5 year increases are done. then what? The increases wont stop because the cost of Eskom's 'fuel' ie: coal, is still there. There is only so much coal so as it runs out the cost of it will increase and hey presto, more price hikes. Not to mention that coal is dirty so there will be the a carbon tax which is not factored into these hikes. You'd think someone that makes a R400 000pm salary (and the other board members) could see this coming! I'll say it again: The sun, the wind and the sea are all free. The technology is already widely available to easily harness these resources and they are completely sustainable and clean. Eskom should be run by scientists and not business men.

  • richard.fahrenfort - 2012-10-23 11:08

    I've also never heard of a company that encourages their customers to use less of the thing that they are selling and also a company who's customers are forced to pay for capital expansion programs because of debt incurred through poor planning. How daft and tragic!

  • gail.evans.9275 - 2012-10-23 11:23

    BHP Billiton is destroying our economy. Which ANC official got a back hand payment for this one? However, there is an easy solution. But people are too busy lying and making money out of South Africans, lining their own pockets. It is called Magnetic Motors and Plasma physics. I strongly recommend that Melita Steele and Greenpeace no longer waste their time and their energy, and instead contact the Keshe foundation and insist that representatives from all political parties be made aware of clean, and I add CHEAP energy that is available to us, making coal, oil and Nuclear redundant. Please send e mail to all political parties demanding that Keshe introduce his technology in South Africa:

  • john.cryink - 2012-10-23 11:51

    The activists aleays have answers until a peron wants to bath, cook food, watch tv and every day stuf we need electricity for but there is none what now? Then will the activists demonstrate why the goverment did not build more coal fired power stations?

  • gail.evans.9275 - 2012-10-23 12:22

    Please read, sign and share: Petitioning Minister of Energy/ Helen Zille D.A./ The Sunday Times/ CSIR Negotiations with the Keshe Foundation. The Keshe Foundation has offered all ambassadors and nations of the world a peace invitation to take part in the release of technology that will free us from pollution and the high cost of energy systems based on coal, oil and dangerous Nuclear power. The energy crisis will be resolved and the world water shortage will be addressed. The only thing standing in the way of prosperity and a healthy environment is government institutions and corporate oligarchs.

  • hein.huyser - 2012-10-23 12:55

    We will continue our calls for an alternative pricing model in which consumers and businesses are not made to pay for inefficient capital expenditure programmes by a monopolistic state-owned energy provider.

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