Expect electricity price hikes while Eskom continues to export power

FEBRUARY 4, 2015

The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday said that the resignation of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) CEO Phindile Baleni will lead to hikes in electricity prices. This is also when Eskom said it continues to export and import electricity in accordance with its regional bilateral agreements.

“Sadly, Ms Baleni’s resignation now heightens the possibility of a far more compliant Nersa CEO being installed, an appointment that will surely mean further electricity price hikes for consumers,” DA MP Gordon Mackay said in a statement.

“Under Ms Baleni’s leadership, Nersa has remained a steadfast defender of the South African consumer, obstructing Eskom from bank-rolling its mismanagement at our expense.”

Initial reports suggested that Baleni’s resignation was due to political interference at Nersa which aimed to water down the regulator’s tough stance on Eskom, he said.

“It is felt that Ms Baleni has been a major stumbling block in allowing Eskom to recover increasing operational costs via the consumer.”

Continuing to export power

Meanwhile, as the power woes in South Africa continue, Eskom, citing its bilateral electricity trade agreement with other Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) member states, says it continues to export and import electricity.

However, Eskom told Fin24 that in an effort to reduce the impact of exports it has ensured that the contracts with SAPP trading partners are sufficiently flexible to allow for certain controls.

“During emergency situations in South Africa, non-firm agreements and industrial customers across the border are interrupted in line with the terms of their agreements,” Eskom said in a statement.

Eskom also urges other members to reduce consumption: “During load shedding in South Africa they are required to undertake proportional load shedding”.

The SAPP was founded in 1995 and has established a common power grid between Southern African countries so as to ensure integrated planning and the safe operation of the interconnected transmission system.