We want compensation, farmers' union tells Eskom

TAU SA wants farmers to pay fixed costs for electricity delivered on a pro rata basis and will seek legal advice on compensation for losses incurred during load shedding, the agricultural union has said.

They have also raised concerns over food security due to continued load shedding, saying interrupted access to power can impact food production and food safety standards, including breaking the cold chain.

In a strongly worded letter to Eskom's Group Chief Executive Phakamani Hadebe, which Fin24 has seen, TAU SA president Louis Meintjies says food production is dictated by "seasonal and meteorological influences, which is beyond human influence".

"[T]he mere fact that Eskom has made provision for eight phases, which would in practice mean electricity might be restricted for the greatest part of the day, casts a serious shadow of doubt and concern over the impact thereof on society in general, but also in particular on agricultural activities," he adds.

According to Meintjies, "mismanagement, bad planning, a lack of standards and inspections and self-enrichment" as well as the after-effects of state capture, have left "consumers at large, and commercial farmers in particular, at the mercy of Eskom".

TAU SA only wants to pay fixed costs pertaining to energy delivery on a pro rata basis, based on energy availability as a result of load shedding; and will seek legal opinion on financial compensation for production losses due to load shedding and interruption of Eskom services, the letter says.

The beleaguered power utility recently forecasted a loss before tax of more than R11.2bn, with chair Jabu Mabuza describing the state of affairs as "not sustainable".

Fin24 reached out to Eskom for a response to the letter. At the time of publication, the power utility had not yet replied.

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