Press Release: Earthlife to Protest at NERSA hearings tomorrow

Earthlife Africa Jhb
21st of July 2014

On the 22nd of July 2014, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) will be holding public hearings on the guidelines for electricity reseller tariffs in South Africa at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and its community organisation partners will protest outside of the event, demanding that 1) Free Basic Electricity allocations be expanded, 2) NERSA does not grant any further increases until it deals with Eskom’s loss-making supply contract with BHP Billiton, 3) NERSA conducts a urgent investigation into Eskom and its inability to build power stations to budget and on time.

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and its community based partners will protest from 10h00 to 13h00 outside Gallagher Estate. Gallagher Estate is located at 19 Richard Drive, Midrand, Johannesburg.

Firstly, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and partners are concerned that the public call for Free Basic Electricity for all has not gained any momentum with NERSA.  According to Makoma Lekalakala, Senior Programme Manager at Earthlife Africa Jhb: “Electricity is a basic human right and a necessary for social inclusion and participation. The price of electricity is too high for many low-income households and Free Basic Electricity would assist households in meeting other basic needs.”

Secondly, protesters are concerned that South African consumers are not seeing the promised investment in social infrastructure because of the huge national debt being accumulated by Eskom. But one of the reasons for the debt is the cheap electricity supply deal that the power utility holds with Australian company BHB Billiton resulting in losses estimated at more than R11.5 billion. Lerato Maragele, Education and Outreach Officer at Earthlife Africa Jhb, explains that: “NERSA must investigate and widely publicise how lost Eskom revenue translates into electricity tariff increases for households.”

Thirdly, protesters are concerned by NERSA’s apparent inactivity on Eskom’s failure to build electricity power stations to budget and on time, and the resultant electricity price increases. “The mandate of NERSA is to promote the protection of the interests of vulnerable groups within the Electricity Supply Industry. The delays at Medupi and Kusile are causing a ripple effect throughout the whole supply chain and impacting on the most vulnerable consumers,” explains Dominique Doyle, Energy Policy Officer at Earthlife Africa Johannesburg.

CONTACTS:

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg:
Makoma Lekalakala
Senior Programme Manager
Tel (w): 011 339 3662
Mobile: 082 682 9177
Email: makoma [at] earthlife.org.za
Dominique Doyle
Energy Policy Officer
Tel (w): 011 339 3662
Mobile: 079 331 2028
Email: dominique [at] earthlife.org.za
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