Business, civil society, politicians and individuals are putting their collective foot down on Eskom’s predictable calls for huge tariff hikes this, and every, year. At public hearings in Midrand hosted by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) last week and early this week, most of those who spoke called for an overhaul of Eskom’s business model. Eskom has wedged its major shareholder, the state — and by implication the taxpaying public — into a corner. Because of its inefficiencies in managing the construction of its new power stations, Medupi and Kusile, and a history of unreliable delivery that has driven customers to cut consumption, Eskom is having to service a huge debt burden while sales are shrinking. This is clear from the presentation to Nersa by Eskom acting CFO Calib Cassim, which showed that instead of the 244terawatt hours that Eskom forecast it would sell by 2018/2019, it is now only likely to sell 211.

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