8 April 2008 – The National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has approved Eskom’s request that certain ‘commercially sensitive’ information be withheld from its application for a 53% tariff increase.
"It is information that Eskom feels is commercially sensitive – just a paragraph here and there that needs to be taken out," said Charles Hlebela, NERSA spokesman.
The amended application will be available on the NERSA website for public comment.
Trade Unions have accused Eskom of a lack of transparency. "If the full report is not published tomorrow, we shall ask for reasons before weighing further legal remedies," said Solidarity spokesman Jaco Kleynhans.
"Eskom’s lack of transparency is clear from its request, but the public is entitled to the full motivation for the high increase," he said.
The Freedom Front Plus political party has also called for a probe into Eskom’s finances, suspecting something amiss for such a substantial increase to be requested.
"Something is not right with Eskom’s books since the same company that reported a net profit of several billion rand in 2007 is now asking for a tariff increase of 67 percent to make ends meet," said Willie Spies, the party’s spokesman on minerals and energy.
He rejected the request for the proposal to be amended, saying "Eskom has no competitors that could act to its disadvantage if this information is made public. The public has the right to know what managerial mistakes or circumstances lead to this ridiculous tariff hike."