At what point does a powerful entity, such as Eskom or the government, sit back and reminisce about the damage they cause? While the energy situation may have stabilized for now, it’s not stopping everything else from taking a big nose-dive. Load shedding is finally under control, yipee. Now it’s just a matter of making enough money to maintain the permanent supply.
If one thing has become abundantly clear it’s that no amount of protesting is going to stop the increasing cost of electricity. South Africans can hope for many things, but cheap energy isn’t one of them. This is the reality that will continue to play out as Eskom and the government keep working together. Even though they publicly clash about things like millions of rands being owed to the power company, the one cannot really exist without the other.
This is also where the “screw” process starts. You and me – the people tied into the grid – are at the receiving end of the process. Our basic need to have power in our homes puts us in a vulnerable state in front of these powerful entities. But how exactly are they screwing us?
The Closed Market
A basic rule of economics is that competition must exist in order for competitive prices to exist. The previous article went into detail about the Eskom dictatorship. With the current situation it’s a closed market and no other power companies are allowed to prospect South Africa, much less provide it. With Eskom retaining the title of being the sole energy provider, they can lift the prices as they please. Yes, we know, government is supposed to regulate these prices. But when was the last time you saw a silver lining where Eskom and the government is involved?
Government Debt and Income
By now you’ve heard about how many municipalities owe Eskom millions, which is possible motivation for letting them do things their way. Unfortunately the deep connection doesn’t stop there, because about 70% of municipal income is from payments made on electricity bills every month. If only municipalities were able to effectively use their budgets instead of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in some fancy Audi sport models, they wouldn’t be so dependent on utility bills. In other words, without Eskom the municipalities wouldn’t have any money at all – once again leaving us in the bad part of the deal.
Lack of Support for Renewable Energy
Apart from delaying important renewable energy programs, government hasn’t made any plans to support home owners who invest in renewable energy. There are no incentives for people who effectively cut into municipal profits. We can look to other countries such as the UK and America for great examples of incentive rewards, but that will only make all of us depressed. Knowing that other countries actually inspire citizens to make the change while our government wants us to stay hooked on Eskom is downright pathetic.
It’s Time to Reverse the Screw Process
The government might not be happy about implementing renewable energy, but they can’t stop you from giving it to yourself. Your incentive is that you can become completely independent from Eskom, save more money than you can imagine, and you don’t have to lose sleep every time Eskom announces another price hike. By making steady and affordable changes you can reverse the screw process instead of protesting against a brick wall.