Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is of the view that legislation in South Africa should be changed, making it standard to use prepaid electricity.
Speaking to MPs during a parliamentary briefing with Eskom and the Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises about the power utility’s tariff hike for 2016 to 2017, Molefe said prepaid electricity would go a long way towards curbing Eskom’s losses due to non-collection and illegal electricity connections.
“I know it’s been said in the media that I – Brian Molefe – am not supposed to say anything about energy policy,” he said in reference to a report that National Treasury was unhappy about his utterances on independent power producers.
“If you would allow me to just say as a lowly official – we think prepaid electricity should be standardised. If we have it through the entire country it would resolve our problems, and the shortest way is by introducing legislation on prepaid.”
Molefe also proposed that Eskom “step in”, install prepaid meters and collect revenue and then pass on to municipalities the portion of collections due to them. “That will take away the burden of collection. So the municipality will still get their revenue, but Eskom becomes the collecting agent.”
Molefe added that Eskom would also be happy if legislation is introduced that allows the utility to appeal energy regulator Nersa’s decisions. “Currently if one party is unhappy – Eskom in this case – about an aspect in the Nersa ruling there is no way we can appeal, except maybe to (go to) the courts. We’d be happy if we could appeal if we feel there was an error in the calculations.”
Consumers who receive power from municipalities paid 7.64% more for electricity since the beginning of July. This comes after Nersa approved a 9.4% hike for 2016 to 2017.