ONCE upon a time, Thabo Mbeki's administration was warned Eskom would have to build more power stations to meet demand. They ignored it, caused rolling blackouts and finally allowed Eskom to nail us with price increases over three years.
I thought that was the end of it. Boy, was I wrong! After squeezing billions of rand out of helpless citizens, Eishkom now wants to double the cost of not using candles between 2013 and 2018, as if we poor South Africans have gold mines or banknote printing presses in our backyards.
Sorry dear Eksdom, but with the exception of company executives and the ANC's tenderpreneur brigade, the majority of citizens who are lucky to work for a living earn salaries below the tax threshold and cannot buy electricity in bulk like your buddies at BHP Billiton and Arcelor Mittal, nor do they get the still-secret preferential rates you give them.
Besides, who do you think is going to suffer the immense economic cost of these increases?
We, the little people.
We will pay more out of the pittance we earn to cover the added energy cost all along the goods supply chain, while you spend millions on staff parties and crow in the media about the billions of rands in profit you've extorted.
We will continue to put up with those annoying "49m" ads on TV and radio.
We will wait in vain to hear you and the ANC apologise for the mess.
We will sit in the dark so that your executives can earn multi-million rand bonuses for providing an uninterrupted power supply, washing in lukewarm water and eating baloney sandwiches because mere survival is too expensive.
Assuming the world won't end on December 21 2012, the economy will probably be crushed under the weight of so many price increases, inflation and labour unrest by 2018.
Businesses would have shut down and manufacturing reduced to a trickle while Eskom executives sit on top of an electricity supply people will be too poor to afford.
It doesn't matter how much public consultation Nersa engages in, or how the increases are structured. In the end, people will pay or live in the Stone Age.
Eskom wants us to choose poverty or darkness and neither is appealing.
May its board of directors live in interesting times for it – we certainly do.
M Negres, Port Elizabeth