In a statement, SAWEA explained that the refusal is inconsistent with South Africa’s constitutional principles of openness, transparency and fairness, as well as NERSA’s own legislation.
SAWEA is disappointed that the utility has not taken seriously the major negative effects of the ongoing delay on South Africa’s young renewable energy Industry.
“It is an indication of the depth of poor governance at Eskom, that such a serious matter has suffered the fate of being a casualty of ‘Communications challenges’ at this State owned enterprise,” the wind energy association said. Read more…
National energy regulator
SAWEA declared a power procurement dispute in October 2016, requesting the national regulator to undertake an investigation into Eskom’s continued unwillingness to fulfil its mandate as purchaser of power duly procured by the Department of Energy, the association said in a statement.
In March 2017, the National Regulator responded to this complaint by launching a formal investigation into Eskom’s conduct.
A hearing for both parties to make submissions was scheduled 14 September 2017.
SAWEA has noted that the hearing began on two disappointing notes: “Firstly, Eskom arrived with a plea for postponement, citing ‘Communications challenges’ that had prevented the national utility from adequately preparing its submissions, both written and verbal, despite several correspondences between NERSA and the parties, clearly indicating the timeframes to be adhered to.
“Secondly, NERSA had declared the hearing closed to the public, and would not allow members of media who had arrived, to join the hearing.”
SAWEA and its legal counsel objected strongly to both these points, arguing that in the first case Eskom had had a total of 11 months to take the necessary steps to engage with this matter, and that in the second case, refusing to open the hearing to the public would be inconsistent with constitutional principles of openness, transparency and fairness, as well as NERSA’s own legislation.
The hearing that was meant to take place yesterday, 11 months after SAWEA’s complaint was first submitted, was postponed by two weeks.
The wind energy association said: “It is worth noting that NERSA cautioned Eskom to adhere to this timeframe, given the prejudice already suffered by those whose interests SAWEA represents.”
“The reasons provided by the national utility for its long-standing refusal to honour duly procured power purchases must surely be deemed to be in the national interest,” the energy association said.
Adding that NERSA should recognise that accountability, through transparency is the cornerstone of our Constitution.
Matters of such grave national interest such as the dispute declared by SAWEA should not be considered behind closed doors.
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