Eskom is ethically bound to provide cheap, clean power to all

Business

Eskom is ethically bound to provide cheap, clean power to all

The mismanagement and corruption of the utility are a serious moral breach of the contract between state and citizens

Piet Naudé

What insights might be gained if one approaches the issues around Eskom from an applied ethics perspective? Eskom is a monopoly entity providing an essential service. Both aspects of this reality have important ethical consequences.

Under normal circumstances in a free-market economy, strict rules apply to ensure fair competition among businesses in the same sector. The active Competition Commission – giving fines to those who enter into price collusion – is an example of how jealously competition is guarded.

The enforcement of competition rests on two assumptions: the market must be open to fair play; and prices are normally lower in a more competitive environment. The result is an ethical playing field with benefits for customers. As soon as a state entity operates as a monopoly both the notions of “fair playing field” and “fair pricing” come under pressure...

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