We’ve been unfairly criticised, says Eskom

The power utility’s request for nearly R23 billion has largely been opposed by big business & unions.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Eskom says it's been unfairly criticised at public hearings into its application for nearly R23 billion from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

The power utility's request has largely been opposed by big business and unions.

The parastatal has been accused of spending money recklessly, using R8 billion on diesel when it was given a budget of R2 billion.

Eskom says it's disappointed at the negative submissions made by stakeholders at public hearings in Cape Town.

The power utility has been lambasted for its apparent lack of financial controls.

The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute's Liz McDaid said, "They have all this unplanned stuff; we're trying to fix our problems and we still need the increase today. I think we have to say 'enough is enough'; we are getting different singers singing the same song. Maybe Eskom needs to change the song sheet, not only the singers."

Eskom Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh says some of the presentations were "loaded with emotion" and not balanced.

"We only had 13 hours of loadshedding yet we are blamed for negatively affecting the economy and agriculture."

Nersa is expected to make a decision on Eskom's application by 26 February.

ELECTRICITY THEFT

At the same time, Eskom says electricity theft costs the economy more than R7 billion annually.

The power giant says even though a law has been passed making it illegal to steal electricity, it remains a major problem across the country.

Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says, "We are losing, on an average, between Eskom and municipalities about R7 billion in a year."