A member of the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), Mr. Nhlanhla Gumede, has called for a review of his country’s electricity regulations to ensure consumer protection.
According to him, the current laws regulating electricity in South Africa protect the suppliers from the disadvantage of the poor consumer.
Speaking exclusively to the Editor of energynewsafrica.com, Michael Creg-Afful, in Accra recently, Mr. Gumede assured the people of South Africa of his avowed commitment to facilitating reforms in the country’s electricity sector.
He lamented that power consumers in South Africa do not have associations and also, the larger consumers fear antagonizing Eskom, hence, failing to participate in their efforts at reforming the electricity sector to protect innocent consumers.
Asked why his outfit is unable to initiate steps to fast-track reforms in the power sector, he explained that the law setting up the NERSA defines their role and it, therefore, restricts any revolutionary measure to tilt changes towards consumers without strictly adhering to the South Africa Constitution.
Though Mr. Gumede expressed the hope that the process would be quickened, he stressed that unfortunately, “consumers are failing themselves by not putting up proposals to ensure changes in the sector,” which is beneficial to suppliers.
Sadly, the Act setting up the NERSA confines their scope and that is why last month, an upward adjustment of over 18 per cent amid irregular electricity supply in South Africa could not be resisted because of the uncoordinated consumer front in the country.
It is in the phase of these inconsistencies in the electricity supply chain in that country that compels Mr. Gumede who is an electrical engineer by profession is advocating reforms and urging South Africans to firm interest groups to fight the law regulating the sector in the country to cushion poor consumption.
“Most essential service consumers in countries in Africa and other developing countries suffer this fate as a result of the way our laws regulating most essential services are formulated and regulated,” he explained.