Switch off hike plan

THE days of cheap power might well have passed but Eskom's bid yesterday to up its rates by 34percent - with another increase later this year - borders on madness.

THE days of cheap power might well have passed but Eskom's bid yesterday to up its rates by 34percent - with another increase later this year - borders on madness.

Cheap electricity is one of the main reasons South Africa is a prosperous industrialised country but global demand for our coal has boosted prices so high that miners find it more profitable to fuel Chinese and Indian generating plants than those in their backyards.

We must also build many more power stations to cope with years of neglect and rising demand for electricity.

Eskom cannot expect us to reshape our economy overnight to fund its bad planning. In any case, the astronomical, inflationary rate hikes it proposes will filter throughout our faltering economy and compound the effects of the recession.

The company has had more than a year to come up with a suitable budget, including alternative ways to finance its expansion programme. But chief executive Jacob Maroga said yesterday that the electricity-generating parastatal will only know by September how much more money it needs.

You blew it, good sir.

We suggest you return to the drawing board and come up with a fresh, transparent plan, including alternative methods of funding that won't bankrupt your customers.

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