Eskom Inefficiencies Give South Africans a Break – Tariff Increases Delayed for 6 Months
Update: (01-04-2010 @ 12:30PM) The scheduled midday press conference was not held at Megawatt Park, because it never existed. The equally non-existent Media Liaison Officer Lindiwe Mazibuko advised BlaBla that this story was a “cruel April Fools’ joke” perpetuated to highlight the financial struggle that faces many South Africans. The electricity tariff increase of 24.8% IS being implemented by Eskom from today – sorry to have disappointed you.
Thanks to Voted! who helped us spread the misery over on his VOTED! Now let’s Unite! pages. And while we’ve got you on the downer already, we remind you that todays’ tariff increase will be followed by another two over the next two years as well.
Johannesburg, South Africa (AFP): Thanks to the ongoing inefficiencies in the beleaguered national energy providers’ Administrative and IT systems, cash-strapped South Africans are waking up today to surprising good news. The much-debated Eskom electricity tariff increase that was to be applied from today will now only come into force in 6 months time.
Eskom Consumer Affairs Media Liaison Officer Lindiwe Mazibuko, announced the delay at a hastily convened press conference at Eskoms’ Megawatt Park corporate offices late last night.
Citing “a combination of administrative and technical shortfalls” Mazibuko appeared flustered by the barrage of questions which followed her reading of the short prepared statement.
“It is unfortunate that Eskom must delay the implementation of the NERSA-approved tariff increase for the 2010 – 2011 period,” she said. “An implementation problem in the Eskom account billing system has been discovered by the Eskom IT department.
“This problem is of a technical nature and will be resolved shortly. However, the unavoidable knock-on effect that this has caused in the Administrative environment for customer billing will result in a 6 month delay in the application of the National Energy Regulators’ approved 24.8% tariff increase which was to be effective from tomorrow (today)”, Mazibuko reported to the small group of media representatives who attended the late night meeting.
“Eskom regrets the inconvenience that this combination of administrative and technical shortfalls may have on its’ valued customer-base, and assures all its’ clients that the problem is in hand and will be resolved without any disruption of services.”
Mazibuko concluded her reading of the announcement by saying that “Eskom remains committed to providing South Africans with world-class electricity provision in their homes, offices, schools, work places and public spaces.”
Immediately bombarded with a barrage of questions which the Liaison Officer stoically avoided answering, she did add that “a more detailed statement and explanation of the exact nature of the tariff increase implementation issues will be made to the media at a formal press conference tomorrow (today) at midday, in the same venue.”
Ms. Mazibuko could not be drawn on whether the “administrative issues” had any relation to the problems recently highlighted by M-Net’s Carte Blanche exposé on irregularities within the hiring practices of Eskom employees.
The programme included hidden camera footage filmed inside the Megawatt Park offices which showed deserted administrative offices and a near empty building. This was alleged to have been on a normal workday morning at which time the administrative heart of the national energy provider should have been bustling with activity.
When asked whether the increases would be back-dated and added to consumers’ accounts retro-actively once the problem had been resolved in September, all the spokesperson was prepared to say was that “consumers should be happy that they won’t have to pay the higher electricity bills for the next 6 months.”
All attempts at reaching Eskom sources for more information were unsuccessful at time of publishing. – AFP