In a ground-breaking victory for Energy Expert Coalition’s Ted Blom, the electricity regulator NERSA has ruled against Eskom’s fictitious invoicing.
Blom recently represented a small mining company which, as a result of a downturn in the market, has been forced to significantly cut production and subsequently electricity consumption. Eskom’s management incorrectly blamed the customer for meter tampering and meter failure as the readings were lower than the utility’s estimated readings.
Eskom then decided to declare the meter faulty and without informing the customer, replaced the device while adjusting the mine’s bill upwards by more than R1.5m.
The mine, in a desperate situation because of plummeting sales, contacted Ted Blom who within two arbitration meetings, rubbished Eskom’s claims by proving that their billing was fictitious, and an amount of over R1.5m should be refunded. The National Energy Regulator NERSA, who oversaw the arbitration, agreed and ordered Eskom to issue a refund to the mine.
It has subsequently come to Blom’s attention that there are many more instances of over-invoicing by Eskom against consumers. These include smaller clients and municipalities, the latter of which could amount to the bulk of the R9.6bn “Eskom arrears” which is threatening to collapse South Africa’s Municipal infrastructure countrywide. Blom highlights that more than 80% of municipalities are bankrupt solely because of outstanding debt to Eskom.
Blom urges Eskom and municipal customers to scrutinize their monthly accounts in detail, and says “if Network charges or fixed charges on the monthly electricity invoice exceeded 30% of consumption charges, the consumer is in all probability being ripped off.”
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