‘There are other ways for Eskom to produce power’

Right2Know says Eskom should seek alternative ways to generate power instead of implementing a tariff hike.

Picture: Freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Civil action group Right2Know Campaign says it's not necessary for Eskom to receive increased tariffs as there are other ways to produce power.

Supporters of the campaign gathered outside Gallagher Estate in Midrand today, where public hearings into Eskom's application for a tariff hike are being held.

Organiser Bongani Xezwi says members of the public cannot afford to pay more for electricity.

"Eskom needs to start investing in green energy. Lots of civil society organisations have approached Eskom; come to us if you want some ideas on how we can work together in terms of having green energy, investing in solar [energy] and start consulting on what kind of energy we want.

Eskom has argued that it needs to recover R22.8 billion, some of which was used to buy diesel to operate open cycle gas turbines to avoid load shedding.

This week the utility faced controversy surrounding it's cancellation of a contract with Exxaro and the subsequent interim appointment of suppliers including Gupta-owned mining company, Optimum.

In December, Eskom announced it would not renew its coal supply contract with Exxaro.

The utility is bowing out of a 40-year contract with the mining company, saying it had always been satisfied with the quality of Exxaro's coal but not the quantity.

Trade union Solidarity said 1,700 Exxaro Mine employees could lose their jobs because of government's dealings with the Gupta family, claiming Optimum will get the permanent contract.


Meanwhile, Eskom has defended the decisions it's made over the past few years on how it incurred costs which it's now trying to recover through a tariff increases.

Businesses and organisations are calling on the national energy regulator to reject the application.

The utility's Anoj Singh says they had a number of challenges to deal with.

"We had to resolve problems prospectively rather than benefiting with hindsight. In the period under consideration, Eskom has done everything to run the fleet as effectively and efficiently as possible."

At the same time Eskom says experiences over the past few years will assist it in making better decisions on how to keep the lights in future.