NERSA, the National Energy Regulator has recently published its decision on the outcome of yet another attempt by Eskom to fleece the consumer. This followed hearings held at Nersa’s head office in December last year at which, barring the attendance of a large Eskom delegation, OUTA’s Ted Blom was the lone defender of SA’s consumers against a 400% price increase on unspecified Eskom Critical Peak Days.
Eskom had argued for the new tariff in order to encourage reduced consumption on days where Eskom had underestimated demand. The blunt tool that Eskom wanted to deploy on such days (with a 12-hour warning), was a super high tariff which would have resulted in many business being unable to pay the sizable increases.
Blom, who is OUTA’s Portfolio Director on Energy matters, lambasted Eskom for among other things – ignoring the basic tenants of sampling and for not offering evidence of the sample questions or identity of population that was sampled. In addition, Blom accused Eskom of using inappropriate sampling methodologies and for taking over 5 years to put the proposal together without considering the practical issues with the implementation of this harsh tariff.
“It was simply a case of burdening the South African consumer with another complex tariff structure,” said Blom who also accused Eskom of “secrecy and slated Eskom’s contention that the new Tariff would be revenue neutral, as their very own appendices showed that not to be the case.”
Blom’s final attack on the tariff was that although it would appear to be a voluntary tariff option during its initiation phase, Eskom had slipped into their application the right to convert it to a “mandatory tariff” at a later stage.