South African energy expert Ted Blom says on Tuesday that he would be representing 80 000 citizens from all provinces in the country at the provincial electricity tariff negotiations with the national energy regulator and power utility Eskom.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) hearings on Eskom’s 33 percent tariff increase application are due to kick off early next week, beginning with Cape Town in the Western Cape province.

Nersa will hold public hearings on regulatory clearing account on the second, third, and fourth, multi-year price determination application (MYDP) across nine provinces in three weeks, beginning on 16 April until 14 May 2018.

Members of the public were given two months to provide written comments on Eskom’s RCA applications, from 23 January to 23 March 2018, while public hearings will provide stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to make oral presentations on the applications.

Blom, a partner at Mining & Energy Advisors and Energy Expert Coalition (EECO), estimates that Eskom’s fourth multi-year price determination application later this year could see another tariff hike exceeding 50 percent as Eskom needs more money to satisfy its activities amid falling electricity consumption.

Blom has been extremely critical of Eskom’s increases which he believes are just another ploy to fund corruption.

He was the first analyst to blow the whistle on Eskom’s corrupt practices back in 2009, some of which was confirmed by the Public Protector in 2016.

“This conveniently excludes three of the biggest and most corrupt deals in the history of South Africa – the contracts to build Medupi, Kusile and Ingulla,” Blom said referring to new power stations.

“The cumulative cost of these corrupt deals have cost South Africa and the electricity consumer over R250 billion more than it should have – and construction is only around halfway. The public cannot be expected to fund this through tariff hikes.”

Blom said that Eskom had killed hundreds of thousands of jobs by prematurely forcing hundreds of business and mine closures through excessive electricity tariffs.

He has called for support and input from electricity users as he prepares for presentations and arguments to Nersa at upcoming hearings.

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