The energy supplier we all love to moan about has come out fighting this week, as legal firm De Beers stated they would take Eskom to court over their disastrous load shedding fiasco of 2019.
Why Eskom could be sued
It’s estimated that the economy has lost tens of billions of rand during a turbulent February and March, where Stage 4 load shedding became the norm for days on end. A myriad of businesses and companies have suffered as a result of the blackouts, and De Beers promise to file a class-action lawsuit against the firm.
However, Eskom isn’t taking these threats lightly. They issued a statement on Thursday explaining why load shedding was a necessary practice. The utility claim that the power cuts are put in place to prevent the grid from shutting down completely, which would lead to South Africa having no power at all for days on end:
“Load shedding is done countrywide as a controlled measure when the national grid is constrained to protect the power system from a total collapse. The system operator is responsible for the security of the national power system.”
“Should the system operator fail, the national power system could collapse, causing a national blackout. The financial impact to a specific customer alone is therefore not sufficient to justify the exclusion of individual customer installations from the emergency load reduction.”
In defence of load shedding
As well as Eskom’s sassy response to the threats, they are actually on the same page as Ted Blom… for a change. The energy expert and outspoken critic of the power supplier said on Thursday that a class-action lawsuit “could not be filed” against the company:
“On a technical basis, there will be difficult issues to solve via a class action lawsuit. Eskom get their supply to us through different channels, so there’s no uniform approach. There’ll be no success in the high court. But if you trade negligently as the Eskom board have, you must be held responsible.”
Support from the business community
Meanwhile, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) issued their support to President Ramaphosa and the ongoing efforts to “make Eskom great again”. They have proposed that key shareholders and businesses are involved in the implementation of a recovery plan:
“Busa views the revitalisation of Eskom as the single most important priority for the economy and underpins inclusive growth. The organisation has proposed the creation of a collaborative platform where business, government and Eskom can work together to explore practical solutions to address the short-term operational challenges facing the utility.”