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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eskom and Load Shedding

There's been a couple of articles in the South African press lately that point the finger at industry in regards to the current load shedding. I particularly enjoyed this one from The Mercury:

Our electricity is among the cheapest in the world. The nation produces 1.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet makes up less than 0.8% of the world population. But it is very misleading to talk collectively about "us" or "we", because some South Africans use vastly more electricity than others. In fact, much of our power is not used by South Africans at all - but by multinational industries, which remit profits to shareholders overseas.

This is not a unique situation. Most countries fall over themselves to woo foreign investors. The point, however, is that when a country faces a major electricity crisis one would expect the government to discourage more energy-intensive foreign investment until the crisis is resolved. Yet it's still business as usual here.

Which is why Eskom's selective load-shedding and energy-saving campaign smacks of hitting soft targets rather than profligate users.



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