Eskom has dismissed suggestions that people can claim back money from the company because of load-shedding.
Speaking to the SABC, energy expert Ted Blom said most people “do not realise that more than half of their Eskom charges are for line availability or line capacity”.
He then asked the question: “If electricity is not available, what are we paying for?”, urging people to join forces and challenge Eskom in the high court.
Eskom network charges
Eskom provided the network charges definition below in its Electricity Pricing Definitions document.
Network charges recover network costs (including capital, operations, maintenance and refurbishment) associated with the provision of network capacity required and reserved by the customer.
Eskom said it will depend on the tariff as to where users will see network charges on their electricity bill.
“Some tariffs have network charges that are explicit and fixed, and these are raised on the notified demand which is the maximum network capacity Eskom provides,” Eskom said.
“Some tariffs have variable network charges and some tariffs have no explicit network charges i.e. the network costs are bundled into the energy rates.”
No claiming money back
Eskom disputed Blom’s claims that people are paying for electricity availability as part of their “network charges”.
“Network charges payable as part of a standard tariff are raised to recover the cost of delivering electricity over the electricity networks (wires and transformers), not for the production of electricity,” Eskom said.
Eskom added that users cannot claim some of their network charges back if there is not electricity availability.
“Network charges recover fixed infrastructure costs – i.e. costs that are not dependent on the amount of electricity used,” Eskom said.
“In addition, it is not practicable for Eskom to guarantee the reliability of the supply of electricity.”
The power utility said contractually and in accordance with its licence conditions, it may interrupt the supply of electricity to customers.
“Eskom may interrupt the supply of electricity to customers or require customers to reduce its demand for the supply of electricity, if Eskom has a shortage of generation and/or transmission and/or distribution capacity,” the company said.
“In terms of the Electricity Regulation Act, Eskom may not charge a customer any tariff other than that approved by NERSA,” Eskom said.