As with many things in SA, the setting of electricity tariffs by the National Energy Regulator of SA has become unnecessarily politicised. Ever one to use the populist card in the early years of his presidency, I remember Jacob Zuma through his administration calling on the regulator to give Eskom only half of the tariff hike it sought. It was in the very early stages of the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations and the tariff increase was one of the central cogs of that.

So here we are many moons later with Eskom in a very precarious position, with debt above R450bn and rising. What has transpired since that unnecessary and early season intervention is that the tariff projections at the start of the build programme never came into being.

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