Cape Town - The electricity crisis is set to take centre stage in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria on Monday, as opposition and other interested parties take on the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources (DMRE), the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), and the government over Eskom’s failure to provide South Africa with a stable energy supply.
The court case by UDM, ActionSA, and 17 others seeks to declare the ANC-led government’s response to load shedding unconstitutional and in breach of numerous fundamental human rights, and further seek that certain sectors, such as educational and healthcare facilities, be exempted from load shedding.
“After almost 15 years of load shedding it is clear that the ANC government lacks the will to resolve the crisis, leaving South Africans in the dark. It is our belief that without urgent intervention, the government will continue to let the ensuing crisis persist unabated.
Daily, we are advised of the ‘plans’ to ‘fix’ load shedding, yet we see no implementation of any appropriate and long-term solution to eradicate the abject failure that load shedding is,” said Action SA head of Strategic Litigation, Gillian Benson.
Eskom on Sunday meanwhile confirmed load shedding would continue starting on Monday.
“Breakdowns are currently at 15 645MW of generating capacity while 4 942MW of generating capacity is out of service for planned maintenance. During the last 24 hours, a generating unit at Duvha Power Station was taken offline for repairs.
“The delays in returning units to service at Matla, Tutuka, and Medupi power stations continue,” said Eskom.
Stage 1 load shedding was set to be implemented from 5am until 4pm on Monday. Stage 2 will be implemented from 4pm until 5am on Tuesday. Load shedding will again be suspended from 5am until 4pm on Tuesday.
This comes amid public frustration over the National Energy Regulator’s (Nersa) announcement to approve an average tariff increase of 18,65% for Eskom’s standard tariff customers and an increase of 18,49% for municipalities.
STOP CoCT’s Sandra Dickson said: “In spite of continuous complaints and opposition to the Nersa electricity tariff increase for Eskom direct supplied customers, (we have) the huge 18, 65% increase for residents and 18,49% go-ahead for April 1, 2023. This will be followed by the annual tariff increase for municipalities on July 1.
“The concern is that the ordinary citizen who has to eventually pay more for their electricity never has representation at the table where Nersa decides these increases. Eskom practically held Nersa and citizens hostage to get this huge increase approved.
“The main argument used by Eskom is that electricity is ‘cheap’ in South Africa and that Eskom needs more money.”
GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron said while Eskom was being granted permission to increase the base price of electricity by 18.6% to 173.80c per kilowatt hour (kWH) – in the midst of increasingly regular power failures –municipalities had the power to shield consumers by reducing excessive profit margins.
“If municipalities don’t want to shield consumers, Nersa must use its powers to force them by not approving municipal applications for additional mark-up. Municipalities could implement a zero percent markup and they would still make a profit off of electricity supply.”
Nersa said the reason for its decision would be made available in due course.