Free State Agriculture (FSA) has on Monday made submissions to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) opposing Eskom’s 32% price increase request.
This after Eskom announced that it would be applying for a 32% tariff hike for implementation on 1 April 2023.
According to the power utility, this was due to increases in Eskom primary energy costs – combination of costs related diesel price increase and volume increase, removal of arrear debt related costs – in line with Nersa decision for FY 2023, where other customers do not contribute to gap created by non-paying customers, removal of carbon tax related costs – due to announcement by Minister of Finance of impending legislative changes to postpone carbon tax liability to beyond FY 2025 and increases in independent power producer (IPP) costs – mainly due to increased emergency IPP procurement, among other factors.
But FSA is challenging the request, saying private power supply capacity already exists.
“It is ready to push electricity into the power grid. In some cases, solutions from agriculture have also already been put in place,” said Francois Wilken, president of FSA.
“However, the implementation of this generating capacity is not allowed by Eskom’s ideologically driven and race-obsessed bureaucracy.”
According to Wilken, the effects of the power crisis on the country’s ability to produce sufficient and affordable food and its impact on job creation are “two critical factors that are moving South Africa closer
to a knife’s edge of anarchy. It threatens much more than just agriculture in South Africa.”
Wilken warned that the increase in load shedding is undermines food production.
“Providing reliable electricity is critical in every facet of the agricultural industry. However, level 6 load shedding causes agricultural activities to be brought to a halt for large parts of the day,” said Wilken.
FSA believes black empowerment laws, trade unions and bureaucratic restrictions are the reason for the ongoing crisis
“The race-obsessed ’empowerment policy’ leads to abuse by political elites within state institutions such as Eskom. This drove expertise and competent management (from all communities) out of Eskom and resulted in the economy being systematically strangled to death. Now food production is being sabotaged by political ideology.
“For decades, the unions have been appeased to the detriment of all the country’s people.”
Load shedding will be downgraded from stage 6 to stage 5 at midnight.
“Overnight we returned a unit each at Camden, Kriel, Kusile and Kendal but unfortunately had to take off a unit at Duvha which developed a boiler tube leak. This means we will be able to reduce load shedding to stage 5 at midnight,” announced Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha on Monday.