State power utility Eskom has denied applying to the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA) to pay R1.8 billion in performance bonuses.
City Press reported on Sunday that NERSA is opposing Eskom’s court challenge against its decision to deduct R69 billion from Eskom’s approved revenue for the tariff period ending on 31 March, 2022.
In its court challenge, Eskom claimed this negates the recent bailout it received from the government.
13th cheque, not performance bonuses
Among other opposing arguments, NERSA claimed Eskom was planning to pay R1.8 billion in performance bonuses between 2019 and 2022. It argued that this shouldn’t be permitted because Eskom is financially unstable.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, the power utility said its application for tariff increases did not include any application for performance bonuses.
It said, “The application included a provision for an annual bonus for the three-year period, which is equivalent to a 13th cheque which forms part of Eskom basic conditions and cost to company – i.e. employees’ normal remuneration package.
“In keeping with a board decision reflecting the poor performance of the business, no performance bonuses have been paid to employees in the past two years.”
Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer
In an interview with CapeTalk radio on Monday, Eskom chief operating officer (COO) Jan Oberholzer also suggested that NERSA’s court claim may be erroneous.
He explained, “I spoke to the CFO this morning. That amount stated there as a bonus is basically the 13th cheque which is part of your employment contract. So it’s definitely not performance bonuses.”
Oberholzer added that while Eskom has a performance bonus system in place, the criteria for paying bonuses had not been met.
Meanwhile, Eskom said in an update on Tuesday morning that the power system remains “constrained and vulnerable.”
However, it did not plan to implement load shedding despite plant breakdowns amounting to 13,694MW of capacity.
It said, “The water levels at the pumped storage schemes are currently adequate to supplement the shortage of capacity if required and we continue to work on replenishing our diesel levels at our open cycle gas turbine generators.”