Trade union Solidarity and the Solidarity Research Institute today released a document on the Eskom electricity crisis, titled ‘The electricity crisis in South Africa – Solidarity’s plan of action.’
Solidarity said South Africa’s electricity crisis is bigger than initially anticipated and will last for a long time. The trade union said that although the crisis was Eskom’s doing, it is in everyone’s interest to keep the lights on.
Solidarity’s call includes:
At a micro level, every individual consumer can help. We are calling on the public to heed Eskom’s call to save electricity. Individuals can help by managing down electricity consumption at home during peak times by switching off non-essential appliances when Eskom indicates that the system is under pressure. Solidarity will call on its members to comply with the request and will urge other unions to do the same.
At a business level, Solidarity is calling on companies where the trade union is represented to save electricity in a responsible manner when the network is under pressure. To us, precautionary savings are more important than the collapse of a network, which could result in massive job losses should electricity be rationed.
At a policy level, Solidarity is asking that the Eskom monopoly over power supply be broken. South Africa’s total dependence on Eskom results in major system risk. South Africa should allow more electricity suppliers, reduce the risk of error and allow more inventiveness as far as the supply of electricity is concerned. The market for electric power generation and distribution must be opened up.
At an Eskom level, the utility needs to focus just on electricity supply. It should focus on the creation and retention of skills, maintenance and proper project management. Involvement in New Agebusiness breakfasts and other peripheral activities should be suspended to symbolically show a commitment to electricity supply.
Meanwhile, Solidarity will continue to fulfil its watchdog role. Solidarity also appeals to people who are aware of “cracks” at Eskom, no matter at what level, to disclose it for the sake of electricity supply.