Think that sounds ridiculous? Well, otherwise intelligent people are falling for equally ridiculous e-mail appeals doing the rounds. The latest one urges - no, begs - everyone to sign a petition calling for Eskom not to increase electricity prices by 53%.
It goes like this:
TAKE NOTE, ESKOM HAS STOPPED LOAD SHEDDING UNTIL AFTER THE RATE HIKE COMES IN.....SO THAT WE CAN ACCEPT THE HIKE,...WITHOUT TO MUCH MOANING
We have until the 19th to petition this and there has been a poor response
PETITION AGAINST ESKOM'S ELECTRICITY RATE HIKE OF 53 %
PEOPLE, PLEASE! WE HAVE TO STAND TOGETHER (IF ONLY THIS ONCE) ON THE ESKOM ISSUE. IT IS HIGH TIME WE STAND UP FOR WHAT WE WORK SO HARD FOR DON'T BE PASSIVE - ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS LIST AND SEND IT ON
The latest is that Eskom is going to raise our electricity rates by 53%, but most of us think that it is outrageous and unfair! Why should we pay for their mistakes? .
Time is running out and we need to move fast!
Every 500th person should please CC to email@example.com the CEO of Escom
It really does help to read newspapers. If the forwarders of this e-mail (including some friends of mine) did so, they would know that Eskom has long ago submitted its request for a price hike to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), and the decision is in the hands of the regulator. Thulani Gcabashe could care less if residents from Kokstad and Kempton Park are standing together. Even the copious use of capital letters is believed to be having little impact on the process.
But it is such a well-publicised process, and the criticism of Eskom's request to NERSA so noisy, it is amazing that people who regard themselves as public-spirited should not be aware of it.
Of course, I would prefer the forwarders of such mails to read both newspapers and my blog, because then they would know rule number one of e-mail chain letters and e-mail warnings: never forward to your mailing list any mass-mailed e-mails you've been sent. For ten more rules, look at Hoaxes and legends: the rules on this site.
If you still need convincing on this one, do yourself a favour and download the press release issued by NERSA on 2 April 2008 (yes, they cleverly avoided April Fool's Day). It spells out the timeline and the process for addressing Eskom's request for a price increase. Included in the timeline are the following key dates:
Deadline for submitting written public comments to NERSA: 29 April 2008
Public Hearing: 23 May 2008
Energy Regulator considers and decides on Eskom’s application for price increase for 2008/09: 06 June 2008
Noticed anything mentioning a Mr Gcabashe awaiting a petition from the public? Thought not.
The June 19 deadline? Pure urban legend.
Incidentally, 300 written submissions were received by NERSA by 29 April, and 40 oral submissions made at the public hearings.
As at 13 June, NERSA deliberations were still continuing, according to Business Day.