Don't let Eskom and NERSA fail us

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Don't let Eskom and NERSA fail us
Don't let Eskom and NERSA fail us
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The electricity crisis hits low-income communities the hardest, and today NERSA failed the majority in Mzansi by granting the price hike [1]. To make things worse marginalised communities pay up to 5 times more for electricity than 2 aluminium smelters owned by multi-billion dollar mining company BHP Billiton[2]. With the drought already contributing to higher food prices, we can't let BHP Billiton's Hillside aluminium smelter enjoy a rock bottom price for electricity which was agreed to as far back as 1992. 

One of the reasons why Eskom doesn’t have enough money to tackle the electricity crisis is because it’s losing billions from its deal with BHP Billiton. Eskom has tried to renegotiate with BHP Billiton in 2009, but the company refused to back down. Now the decision rests with NERSA. BHP Billiton claims that Eskom must honour the agreement, even though the agreed price for their Hillside aluminium smelter was agreed to during apartheid.  Why in 2016 should this discount rate still apply? BHP Billiton already agreed to re-negotiate their contract with Eskom for their Mozambican aluminium smelter [3].

BHP Billiton is clearly concerned about public pressure. Their lawyers have tried to stop their secret deal with Eskom coming to light. They even when to court with News 24 to hide how little they pay for electricity, but lost the case. But it’s not just BHP Billiton. Corporations in South Africa pay less for electricity than everyday people, while they use most of our nation's electricity and are responsible for 65% of electricity theft through meter tampering [4].

Dear Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, NERSA Chairperson Mr Jacob Modise,

We call on you to tackle the electricity crisis by making corporations pay their fair share. We call on you to cancel your contract with BHP Billiton and re-negotiate so they pay the same price for electricity that every day people pay. In a country with so much inequality, it is unacceptable that we the people subsidise a multi-national multi-billion dollar mining company. You resolved this issue with the Mozambique aluminium smelter, we call on NERSA to release your report on the unfair and unsustainable electricity price agreement with BHP Billiton.

[1] Nersa-approves-Eskom-tariff-hike, for EWN 1 March 2016.

[2] Eskom consumers funding BHP’s power, for News 24 22 March 2013.

[3] BHP Billiton says it will hold Eskom to special pricing deal. Carol Paton for Business Day. 3 April 2013.

[4] South Africa’s Electricity Crisis: Is Power Really Going to the People? Dale McKinley for SACSIS 10 March 2015.

Will you sign?

Not only has NERSA approved Eskoms 9.4% tariff, both have failed to renegotiate an 'apartheid' era agreement that lets multi billion dollar Australian mining company BHP Billiton pay 5 times less for electricity for 2 of their aluminium smelters. NERSA must make companies pay their fair share for electricity.