Outa: Nersa helping Eskom hide corrupt coal deals

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Outa has learned that The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) is still allowing Eskom to hide details about allegedly corrupt dealings with regards to coal procurement.

According to Outa, Nersa agreed to let Eskom keep some costs secret more than a month after publicly announcing that the information must be available.

Nersa had previously said that it had declined Eskom’s request to omit certain costs from its revenue application, allowing it only to omit information on the regulatory asset base, a decision ratified in a July board meeting.

The Gupta family is alleged to have been one of the coal suppliers involved.

“This indicates that the state capture movement may extend to Nersa as well, as the continued secrecy draws a veil over the corrupt Gupta transactions, which are believed to be worth billions of rand,” said Outa’s Energy Director, Ted Blom.

Outa said te information redacted from Eskom’s application released for comment includes coal burn costs, which Blom regards as crucial information for a transparent and fair pricing decision.

“In the light of Nersa’s decision of 27th July, Blom asked Nersa for the missing information but two replies from Nersa indicated that another decision was taken on 4th September, allowing Eskom to block out the coal costs,” the organisations said.

Nersa’s response to Blom was as follows

“The Energy Regulator, at its meeting of 4th September 2017, based on the application and reasons submitted by Eskom for confidential treatment of identified parts of the Eskom Revenue application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No.2 of 2000), decided that the information is confidential because its disclosure is likely to cause harm to the commercial or financial interests of Eskom.”

Nersa did not publish the decision and the agenda for its executive meeting does not include any reference to this matter.

“This is not transparent. Given this sad state of affairs, we reserve our right to approach the courts for relief if needed,” said Blom.