File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said on Tuesday that it would be opposing Eskom's bid to deviate from the Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD), which will set electricity prices for 2018.
 
This comes after Outa convinced the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) to hold a public hearing on Eskom’s application to be allowed to keep "critical operating statistics" as a secret.
 
Nersa announced the hearing this week, after pressure from Outa.
 
Outa's energy director, Ted Blom, said Nersa was holding a public hearing on Eskom’s application on Friday.
 
"Anyone who wants to object to Eskom’s secrecy application should attend, as the period for written submissions has expired and only verbal representations are still allowed," Blom said in a statement.
 
Last year, Nersa amended the MYPD rules after eight years of lobbying by Blom, who argued that Eskom was hiding corruption in its numbers. 

The amended Nersa rules require greater operational transparency from Eskom, including on its coal-burning operations.
 
But Eskom applied for exemption from publishing those statistics, and Outa is opposing the move.
 
“OUTA objected to these exemptions when stakeholders were asked to offer written comment earlier this year. In addition, OUTA informed Nersa that, in our opinion, Nersa is obliged to hold public hearings on this critical matter,” Blom said.

“OUTA will once again deliver its objection to Eskom’s application for exemption from revealing operating statistics, which we suspect will serve to hide actual amounts of ‘Gupta coal’ consumed by Eskom, thus promoting the consumption of coal that costs Eskom double the amount that it pays other suppliers."

The hearing is on Friday at the Nersa head office in Pretoria.