Metal Union members deny disrupting Nersa meeting in PE yesterday

A public hearing in Port Elizabeth  into Eskom’s application for a tariff increase for electricity was adjourned yesterday, 16 January 2013, following a disruption by people who stormed inside the venue.

Nersa said the  hearing was adjourned due to the disruption by  the National Union of Metal Workers (NUMSA), however, the union denies its members disrupted the meeting.  

The union said it was as surprised as Nersa when “members of the public” stormed inside the hearing venue. In a statement, the union’s Castro Ngobese said the disruption was not sanctioned by the union.

 According to Nersa, the union is demanding that the regulator conduct seven public hearings in seven districts of the Eastern Cape.  Nersa said it was seriously concerned about the action taken by Numsa members who seek to prevent the Energy Regulator from implementing its mandate and denying stakeholders the liberty to exercise their democratic right. 

The regulator further added that it had received correspondence from the union showing the latter had been granted permission to picket outside the public hearing venue. 

“Nersa will continue to conduct the public hearings in other provinces. The continuation of the public hearings in the Eastern Cape will be announced in due course,” it said.

 In October Eskom asked the regulator for a total 16% tariff increase over the next five years. The utility is asking the regulator for 13% for each of the five years for its own needs, plus 3% to support the introduction of Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The current Multi-Year Price Determination, MYPD 2, comes to an end in March 2013.

 The public hearings into Eskom’s request kicked off on Tuesday and will conclude on 31 January 2013.

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