NEVA MAKGETLA: Eskom cannot try to turn back the clock
‘The failure to plan for the shift towards a less electricity-intensive economy, combined with overoptimism about GDP growth, has significant (and potentially costly) implications’
Suppose you had diabetes and managed it by swearing off sugar and losing a lot of weight. How would you respond if your local café owner said you had to buy more sugar so that she could meet her sales targets? Eskom seems to think it can make similar demands on SA. From 2003 to 2016, the number of gigawatt hours required to produce R1bn of the GDP (in constant 2016 terms) fell from 90 to 67 — a 26% fall over 13 years. Representatives of some major metals producers said they should get price subsidies to encourage higher electricity use, bolstering Eskom’s sales and revenues. But SA as a whole would pay dearly if it adopted measures to revive dependence on coal-based energy and mining exports. Eskom should be asked to develop a new business model that takes into account our realities — in particular the rapid fall in electricity intensity, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the imperative of promoting job creation and industrial deepening.Eskom’s sales of electricity dec...