FSA questions unaffordable ESKOM tariff pricing at public hearing

Free State Agriculture (FSA) will question the way ESKOM is allowed to set unaffordable tariffs at a public hearing with NERSA, the national Energy Regulator, on Friday 5 November.

The Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD) pricing methodology will be ending on the 31st of March 2022, which implies that a new or revised methodology is required. NERSA published a consultation paper to determine a new price determination methodology in September 2021, which FSA will be engaging on.

Agriculture only uses 2.8% of the total energy mix produced by ESKOM but was the one sector to increase energy usage the most! From 2012 to 2021 Agriculture increased energy consumption by 6.4%, residential users by 4.6% and commercial users by 4.1%. This while Rail, Industrial and Mining usage has declined -40.9%, -30.3% and -17.2% respectively. The impact of cable theft can be clearly seen on the Rail energy usage! Rail however remains a very small user in the total energy mix using only 1%. The biggest user of electricity (43%) is Municipal distributors, and here the culture of non-payment and poor management is withholding funding from ESKOM who have raked up massive debts of over R400bil!

FSA’s commercial manager, Dr Jack Armour, who is presenting at the hearing says ”the massive elephant in the room is not just the NERSA pricing structure which has allowed ESKOM uncontrolled spending, but also the massive debt burden ESKOM has been allowed to rake up and which needs to be serviced!” The R131Bil promised by first-world countries to South Africa at COP’21 on the weekend to restructure SA’s
energy mix, will barely cover a quarter of ESKOM’s massive debt. Furthermore, SA through ESKOM has officially become the highest polluting country in the world in terms of Carbon Monoxide emissions! Just to clean ESKOM’s dirty power generation alone is costed at over R30 Billion.

At the hearings FSA wants to make a strong case not to overcharge the agricultural sector who are already paying a split tariff – the average farming household who gets power directly from ESKOM pays a service and network capacity charge of over R2 500 per month for a small transformer even before he/she has started using any power.

FSA is also totally against the court case that SALGA (SA Local Government Association) has launched against private energy distributors, which includes the Damplaas Kragbron distribution network belonging to the farming community of Petrus Steyn in the Free State, which is privately funded, maintained and very efficient. The Municipalities want to take over all distribution and retail of ESKOM power wall-to-wall within their boundaries and not just too residential areas as in the past.

Free State Agriculture will stand against such socialistic systems of central control and fight for the free market economic principles that grow economies and promote transparency and efficiencies.

VL bevraagteken onbekostigbare ESKOM-tariefpryse by openbare verhoor

Vrystaat Landbou (VL) gaan die wyse waarop ESKOM toegelaat word om onbekostigbare tariewe vas te stel ernstig bevraagteken tydens ‘n openbare verhoor op Vrydag 5 November met NERSA, die nasionale Energiereguleerder.

Die multi-jaar-prysbepaling metodologie sal op 31 Maart 2022 eindig, wat impliseer dat ‘n nuwe of hersiene metodologie vereis word. NERSA het in September 2021 ‘n konsultasiedokument gepubliseer om ‘n nuwe prysbepalingsmetodologie te bepaal, waarby VL betrokke sal wees.

Landbou gebruik slegs 2,8% van die totale energiemengsel wat deur ESKOM geproduseer word, maar was die een sektor wie se energieverbruik die meeste verhoog het! Van 2012 tot 2021 het landbou-energieverbruik met 6,4% verhoog, residensiële gebruikers met 4,6% en kommersiële gebruikers met 4,1%. Dit terwyl Spoor-, Nywerheids- en Mynbougebruik met onderskeidelik -40.9%, -30.3% en -17.2% afgeneem het. Die impak van kabeldiefstal kan duidelik op die spoor-energieverbruik gesien word! Spoor bly egter ‘n baie klein gebruiker in die totale energiemengsel wat slegs 1% gebruik. Die grootste verbruiker van elektrisiteit (43%) is munisipale verspreiders, en hier is die kultuur van wanbetaling en swak bestuur besig om finansiering van ESKOM te weerhou wat massiewe skuld van meer as R400 biljoen opgehark het!

VL se kommersiële bestuurder, dr Jack Armour, wat by die verhoor aanbied, sê “die massiewe olifant in die kamer is nie net die NERSA-prysstruktuur wat ESKOM onbeheerde besteding moontlik gemaak het nie, maar ook die massiewe skuldlas wat ESKOM toegelaat is om op te hark en wat gediens moet word!” Die R131biljoen wat die naweek deur Eerstewêreldlande aan Suid-Afrika by COP’21 belowe is om SA se energiemengsel te herstruktureer, sal skaars ’n kwart van ESKOM se massiewe skuld dek. Verder het SA deur ESKOM amptelik die hoogste besoedelende land in die wêreld geword in terme van koolstof-monoksied vrystellings! Net om ESKOM se vuil kragopwekking skoon te maak, sal meer as R30 miljard kos.

“Die gemiddelde boerehuishouding wat krag direk van ESKOM kry, betaal ‘n diens- en netwerkkapasiteitsheffing van meer as R2500 per maand vir ‘n klein transformator, selfs voordat hy/sy enige krag begin gebruik het. Daarom sal VL tydens die verhoor sterk argumenteer om nie die landbousektor wat reeds ‘n verdeelde tarief betaal, hoog te hef nie.” sê Armour.

VL is ook heeltemal gekant teen die hofsaak wat SALGA (SA Plaaslike
Owerheidsvereniging) teen private energieverspreiders van stapel gestuur het, wat die Damplaas Kragbron-verspreidingsnetwerk insluit. Dié netwerk behoort aan die boeregemeenskap van Petrus Steyn in die Vrystaat en word privaat befonds, onderhou en funksioneer baie doeltreffend. “Die Munisipaliteite wil alle verspreiding en kleinhandel van ESKOM krag muur-tot-muur binne hul grense oorneem en nie net woongebiede soos in die verlede nie.” meen Armour.

Vrystaat Landbou sal teen sulke sosialistiese stelsels van sentrale beheer staan en veg vir die vryemark ekonomiese beginsels wat ekonomieë laat groei en deursigtigheid en doeltreffendheid bevorder.