Eskom: We share your aims

2012-10-23 11:18

Johannesburg - Eskom and environmental activists have the same objectives, the electricity parastatal said on Tuesday in response to a protest at its head office in Johannesburg, Megawatt Park.

"We don't have any objection to peaceful protest," said Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe.

"We do engage with NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and I think we all have the same objectives as a country. We want to secure the supply of electricity, give access to energy for all, and cleaner electricity. The debate is about how we get there."

On Monday, Eskom put forward an application for a 16% tariff hike a year for the next five years.

Of this increase, 3% would go towards the cost of renewable energy produced by independent companies.

Eskom's average generation cost over this period was only 30 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to around R2 per kWh for renewable energy.

"The point to be made is that the cost of energy from independent power producers is up to 10 times Eskom's current cost of generation," she said.

As a result, South Africans needed to ask how quickly renewable energy could, and should, be brought into the energy mix, she said.

At dawn, protesters from Greenpeace, groundWork and Earthlife Africa unfurled a banner across the front entrance of Megawatt Park.

"Eskom is under new management," the banner announced.

At the same time, activists chained themselves to the front entrance.

"Activists are asking to be invited into the headquarters as new management in order to bring about changes South Africans need," Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday.

Greenpeace said Bobby Peek, the director of clean air activist group groundWork, was its "new Eskom CEO"; that Makoma Lekalakala from Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg, was its "new Eskom stakeholder engagement director"; and that Greenpeace activist Melita Steele was its "new Eskom spokesperson".

The "new management" chained themselves to a table outside the building.

Lekalakala said the action had been prompted, in part, by Eskom's decision to seek an increase in electricity tariffs, announced on Monday.

Another factor had been a perceived lack of interest in renewable energy.

"There has been an outcry from the public for Eskom to massively invest in renewable energy. They have ignored this, and continued in their addiction to coal," she said.

Greenpeace and the other organisations promised to listen to the people and phase out coal generation in favour of renewable energy. Eskom should include them as part of the management team, said Lekalakala.

"We are also making a statement by occupying this space. Eskom belongs to the people, it doesn't belong to corporates."

Peek said the health of communities was affected by toxic by products from coal, and as a result suffered from chronic respiratory diseases.

Steele condemned Eskom's water usage as a result of its reliance on coal.

"There are effective alternatives to coal, but there is no substitute for water," she said.

Eskom used 10 000 litres of water a second, according to Greenpeace.


  • wayne.ramsay.90 - 2012-10-23 11:50

    Soon you won't have anyone using electricity cause of the price. So in the end you going to lose.

      aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-10-23 13:38

      how do you think that'll go for the country?

  • loki.scribus - 2012-10-23 11:56

    The more independent producers there are, the cheaper their prices will be. What we need in SA is a way to generate our own electricity independent of Eskom or government. I'm sick of paying someone else's bonus.

      nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-10-23 12:41

      No because they MUST sell to ESKOM - not so "independednt" after all!

  • amanda.dreyer.12 - 2012-10-23 12:12

    "Eskom and environmental activists have the same objectives" - Oh, I had to laugh at this! Really Eskom - your only objective is to make money for your execs ;)

  • ingrid.oberholzer - 2012-10-23 12:21

    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!!!!!!!! Like the huge performance bonuses you pay yourselves. All you are interested in is yourselves like your buddy cadres.

  • frank.crane.180 - 2012-10-23 12:34

    Can we share your profits too? And go on one of the major trips abroad.

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-10-23 12:39

    They do share our aims. I also aim to make lots of bucks as quick as possible.

  • nosiphom.mazibuko - 2012-10-23 12:41

    Is ESKOM making a profit by the way? If they are, then we should not bail them out. They also pay bonuses, and they are poaching people from everywhere paying them obsene salaries and then coming to us for a "bail out" - sies!

  • mc.segal.5 - 2012-10-23 12:42

    How many Cops rocked up?

  • leilani.pretorius.3 - 2012-10-23 12:45

    If the increase is for the improvement of equipment, then no problem, but if I have to take a pay cut, certainly the TOP BRASS OF ESKOM can afford to not get there bonuses for the next few years. Surely the millions they already have will keep them comfy for a while. Non payment of executive bonuses will safe ESKOM billions. Why do they get these huge bonuses? Do they physically work for it or just pitch at work? Just wondering.

  • camp.j - 2012-10-23 12:46

    A good start would be to start charging BHP Billiton and the likes a correct rate and quit having the cash strapped consumer "sponsor" them

  • hein.huyser - 2012-10-23 12:47

    It is a sin that we have coal and all the resources neded to have virtually free electricity, but still have to pay these exorbitant prices. It's time for the private enterprize to start generating electricity and supply it at realistic prices, cutting Escom out of the loop.e

  • WigzellRM - 2012-10-23 13:10

    Should read : We share your money (among ourselves).

  • lee.theron.9 - 2012-10-23 13:15

    Well I just cannot afford one more cent to go towards anything nevermind another electricity hike. This is seriously something I hope does not happen now. :(

  • aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-10-23 13:32

    Renewable energy subsidies has ruined the Spanish and Irish energy markets. Renewable energy is not baseload. You cannot run mines and factories off renewable energy. Coal costs 50c a kw/h to produce. Bid 1 allocations for Solar PV costs R1.65 per kw/h. Without coal the price of electricity will triple. Go hug some bunnies and stick to what you know Greenpeace et al. Like you are saving the planet... do me a favour.

  • aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-10-23 13:36

    Eskom carries this country. 60% of all local government income is from the resale of electricity. Without Eskom there will be no municipal services, no roads, no way. SA's energy prices are still amongst the lowest in the world. Without Eskom investing in new stations there will be no growth, no new mines, no new nothing. The fact that we have to borrow from International funders to fund the expansions is the expensive part.

      clive.schonken - 2012-10-23 15:23

      AJ, when did Eskom appoint you as spokesperson? You probably are a highly paid official. Hope they'll give you an extra bonus for this one. Remember what happened when Telkom was no longer the sole supplier of telecommunications, in other words no longer running the monopoly, prices dropped. As soon as they allow suppliers of renewable energy to enter the market and build a comfortable client base, the same will happen. At this moment, everyone is dancing to Eskom's tune because there is no other musician.

      aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-10-24 13:25

      Hi Clive, I am a quality manager for a construction firm. Eskom also owns the distribution grid, their biggest asset. IPP's will still pay for the right to lease Eskom's equipment, substations etc and will have to connect to National Grid Regulator to provide power. Good luck getting power from IPP's within the next 5 years.

  • giancarlo.groenewald - 2012-10-23 14:40

    If eskom is thinking just like me... "us" then why don't they allow people that have solar power to also provide excess energy they do not use? I mean then a person providing Eskom with power towards the grid would be able to get paid via Eskom. But I see where this is going, Eskom doesn't Market competition so they get government to change the law and so forth and bam it is harder for a company to also start being a energy provider to 'us" This means that we could all of us provide Eskom's power grid with a little bit of power so that there isn't so many price hikes and so forth.

  • mark.griffith.940 - 2012-10-23 16:31

    The following statement by Hilary Joffe is misleading: "The point to be made is that the cost of energy from independent power producers is up to 10 times Eskom's current cost of generation," In terms of new power generation, the most recent round in the government's Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme saw average prices for Wind and Solar PV at R0.90/kWh and R1.65/kWh respectively. With speculation that Medupi's prices could come in at R0.97/kWh, renewable energy, an emerging private sector industry, is becoming competitive with new coal fired generation - never mind 10 times more expensive. If one were to factor in the differences in Return on Investment expectations between the private and public sectors and the increasing pressure to manage carbon emissions, energy from renewable sources is an economically viable option which does not suffer from the disproportionate price differences described by Ms Joffe.

      aj.coetzee.9 - 2012-10-24 13:29

      A valid point Mark. Big Industrial users pay a summer and winter price for power, between 50c and 85c depending. The high cost of electricity has less to do with Eskom, more to do with lack of government planning and of course non-payment from our neighbours, the poor etc. Like tax, the have's will subsidise the have not's in this country.

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