Feb 08

Power to the People

Can someone explain to me how we managed to have twice as many periods of load shedding in 2007 and it was all put down to a faulty nut in a nuclear reactor (he has since been fired!) and yet no one mentioned at that time that the continents worst case of business planning was just beginning to show itself?

Remember that lovely advert with Eskom lighting up the world, a dreamy shot from outer space as Eskom our powerhouse, our trusted 1st World Style energy producer not only powered up the whole of SA, but the whole of Africa. Well it seems that they may still be powering the rest of Africa because they have long term contracts and commitments, what does that say about their attitude to us their domestic CLIENTS!

Let’s face it though this goes so much deeper, Eskom like Telkom have zero competition in SA, they are monopolies that feed off our capital. Remember they are fed off our taxes, and they then sell us back their product at a price they set, or is that fix?

So when state organs mess up it is fair to fire all those self congratulatory managers who awarded themselves massive bonuses for selling a product only they had to sell! But it is, however, time to go after those who sit back and failed us even more. The politicians in SA who oversee monopolies have a massive obligation and they have failed miserably.

How bright do you have to be to realize that if you produce a vital product, without any competition whatsoever, and you are only keeping up with demand, if you know the state is spending hundreds of billions on infrastructure over the next twenty years you will need more product especially if it is, concrete, bricks, steel and HELLO electricity!

What you don’t do is mothball and close power stations and open nothing new except units that cost $2,000,000 a day in diesel alone! Yes there are two Peak Unit€, diesel powered stations, in the Cape running 24 hours a day, when their real function in life was just to help the peak periods, what great planning!

It should be good bye Mr Minister and anyone else sat on their behind watching. Good bye Eskom exec directors and hello new team and how about some real competition!

So are there any analogies we can draw from all of this mess? Well actually yes! The government is the financial advisor, the utility is the financial institution and we are just us, the abused client!

We never had anyone looking after our interests, they just looked after themselves or were at best apathetic! So the wrong decisions were made and the wrong products purchased and all of a sudden our money ran out, it was the wrong pension, wrong investment and no one really cares.

So lets slap our politicians not worship them, as that is what they are there for, lets slap any IFA giving wrong advice and lets focus on “Service Delivery”, two dirty words at the moment that need to become a descriptor of how we run our lives and expect others to run theirs.

If any financial advisor had acted with such negligence and stupidly as Eskom, or the ministers who oversee Eskom, they would have lost their licence and livelihood long ago and quite rightly so.

As a result I say More Power to the People, and lets hope good advice never ends up being rationed!

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