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OUTA investigating possibility of class action against Eskom

The E-Tolls SagaBlackoutThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is investigating the possibility of bringing a class action against Eskom.

This follows a court decision setting aside the 9.4 per cent Eskom electricity tariff increase.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday that Eskom had not followed the correct methodology when requesting an additional tariff increase for 2016 using the Revenue Clearing Account.

Eskom had failed to submit quarterly reports to the national energy regulator Nersa to lay the basis for the application and also submitted late‚ outside of the permitted time frame. The case was brought by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers and others.

Outa said on Wednesday evening it would be engaging with various experts to assess the viability of launching a class action against Eskom on behalf of the public to recoup the amounts unlawfully charged.

“We applaud the businesses and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers for successfully challenging the irrational manner within which Nersa approved the increase in Eskoms tariffs. Although not all amounts overcharged will be deemed significant in the eyes of some‚ it is an absolute matter of principle that Eskom pay back every cent they have overcharged,” said Ivan Herselman‚ director of legal affairs at Outa.

On 31 March 2016‚ Outa applied to interdict the Eskom tariff increase on the basis of insufficient time and information to analyse the reasons for the electricity tariff increase agreed to by Nersa‚ before it cames into effect.

Outa is currently on appeal against the judgment which ruled against the organisation. It said the judgment of this latest court ruling specifically confirmed Outa’s position that Eskom could revert to the lowest tariff‚ if the interdict was granted.

“We are fully aware that Eskom and/or Nersa are likely to appeal the ruling but will start with our preparations to determine whether a class action is feasible in the circumstances” Herselman added.

Source: TMG Digital

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